California dreaming: CFCC fine arts instructor goes bi-coastal
Taking Art in Stride
When he’s not teaching or in his art studio, CFCC Fine Arts Instructor Travis Weller can be found running ultra marathons on the trails of California. Weller’s fine arts and running worlds collided when The North Face reached out to him about a collaboration for a new line of running shoes—Vectiv. The North Face’s recently launched Vectiv line, their most innovative trail footwear technology to date, is a lightweight, responsive trail shoe made for high performance over long distances.
For almost ten years, Weller has been considered an ultra-runner, someone who frequently runs races of 50 miles or more. Weller drew his inspiration for the design from the “Western States Trail which is part of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run,” he said. “The Western States 100 is the first known 100-mile race, starting in Olympic Valley, CA and ending 100 miles later in Auburn, CA, passing through the high sierra, blazing hot canyons and the sierra foothills.”Establishing a successful career as a professional studio artist requires constant work and dedication. “Each day I step into my studio, it’s worth the effort.” says Weller. “My most recent collaboration with The North Face is unquestionably the most recognizable accomplishment in my career so far.”
The Warm Up
While earning his BA in Fine Art from UNCW, Weller studied with Margie Worthington whose guidance he credits for changing the path of his life. Reflecting on her support, he hopes to have the same impact on a student’s life during his tenure as an instructor at CFCC.Providing a positive change in a student’s life is why he chose to teach in the beginning.
Weller began teaching at CFCC on-campus during the spring semester of 2013. He moved back to San Francisco and transitioned to online teaching during the 2013 fall semester. Today, Weller teaches two-dimensional design and art appreciation online to CFCC students.
The Aid Station
Two lessons he tries to instill in his students are learning to “truly believe in oneself and to have the self-confidence to try again after failure. Art and design are purely subjective forms of expression, and critique and feedback can be difficult for many students, but those who can absorb the feedback and use it to improve upon their work often find the self-confidence to explore concepts to improve upon their art,”he says.
Staying inspired as an artist and teacher are often two separate endeavors. As an artist, Weller’s vision comes from the experiences he’s had with the landscape in Northern California. As an instructor, his motivation often comes in the form of personal messages received by his students at the end of each semester. Weller says, “It seems like each semester there are students that had a profound personal experience during a course and shared that experience with me.”