Director Travys Owen Joins Gentlemen Films and Remains Unapologetically Cool
Travys Owen, the new Director at Gentlemen Films, has moved through the industry as a Designer, Animator and Photographer, but one thing that has always remained the same is his style. Owen has carefully chosen his own path over the years, never diverting and always with his end goal in sight: to become a filmmaker. Over the last ten years he has meticulously been shaping and honing his unique perspective and distinct aesthetic that he now brings with him as a Director.
Travys’s work is bold, colourful, layered and full of detail. His successful attack on the world of fashion photography has gifted him with an eye for beauty and all ‘things’ cool, and his experience has lead to a very clear vision of what he wants to bring to the industry. We got the map to how this Director finally made it to his end destination, in style.
Travys Owen to see Peet Pienaar Please
Ten years ago Travys knocked on the doors of the acclaimed Cape Town design studio The President. He had one simple goal in mind: to work with his idol; performance artist Peet Pienaar. But unlike Peet, the world had never (or at least not yet) heard of Travys Owen. Even at 22, the aspiring Designer refused to budge on his dream and simply wouldn’t be trained by anyone but the best. His tenacious drive earned him a 6 month internship, after which he had proven himself enough to land his dream job with his mentor. Pienaar ended up having a profound impact on Travys’s career.
Travys: “That was the most pivotal time in my life. Peet taught me how to think, even today, in a certain way. He taught me how to look at design totally differently and trust my vision and instincts.”
Strike a Pose. Vogue, Vogue, Vogue
The experience Travys gained as a Designer at The President was invaluable in shaping his aesthetic and affording him the ability to look at things differently. His work was cool and always beautiful and in a way fashion photography found him. But his ultimate goal was to become a filmmaker and fashion photography seemed like as good a way as any to get behind the lens and one step closer to directing. It’s during this period in fashion that Travys started becoming fastidious about lighting and colour. His design eye served him well too and his photography was bold and textured with a unique approach. Over the years he started making quite a name for himself and his work was featured in Fader Magazine, Hunger, Honore, Vogue Italia, FGUK and many others.
Slowly but surely Travys started moving more into the world of directing, first with some fashion shorts for the likes of Nike and Adidas and eventually working on some music videos. His direction on the Petite Noir music video made those keeping a watchful eye on him, sit up and pay attention.
Travys: “There are many things that define my aesthetic. Firstly colour – a lot of my work is very colour-heavy and almost pushed to the point where it’s too much. It’s always on the edge. Then the way I grade my footage – it’s very graphic and quite dark. I like to lift the highlights so it’s very pushed. My background in animation and design means I like to be quite post-heavy, whether it’s adding 3D elements or special effects. I do that in my stills a lot, where I push it with deep edge stuff and drop in backgrounds and really mess with it. I treat my images or footage almost as a designer would rather than a purist photographer. I also sometimes love layering images or mixing two or three images together. I light all my own stuff so all my assistants hate me because I’m hands-on and finicky about lighting. Lighting is so important to me, whether it’s natural or in studio, I’m so specific about that. And that’s how I’ve been able to retain a certain look in my work.”
Now that Travys is focusing on his filmmaking, his attention is less on refining his photographic aesthetic and more on discovering how it will translate into the medium of film. He is determined to retain the beautiful imagery he has come to be known for, but he is now ready to use his experience and craft to start telling authentic stories with real meaning rather than just donning the covers of international fashion magazines and we’ve never been more ready.
It doesn’t matter how much beautiful work Travys showed us, it was time to go Barbara Walters on him and find the man behind the lens. The rules of Quickfire: Answer immediately, first thing that comes to your mind. And go!
1. If you were a sculpture what would you be?
2. Name two trends you are sick of seeing?
“Instagram and Facebook.”
3. What is your colour forecast for 2019?
4. What is the best advice you ever received?
“Stay humble and be nice.”
5. What is on your ‘Continue Watching’ list on Netflix right now?
“It’s not Netflix, it’s Showmax, but it’s called… Um, it’s set in the 70’s and it’s shot super old school… ah, I remember, The Dukes!”
iDidTht: What’s the first job you ever did?
Travys: “An Editorial for Elle.”
iDidTht: The first job you EVER did in your life?
Travys: “Oh, haha! Working with Peet Pienaar at The President design company.”
iDidTht: Oh shut up! That’s the first time you got paid money? Waiter? No?
Travys: “Haha, no sorry.”
6. Hang on, show us that mug you were holding up…
iDidTht: Look how art-directed this all is!
Travys: “That’s Gentlemen Films for you!”
7. If you could give anyone a cool makeover with no budget, who would it be?
“The Pope, whatshisname?”
iDidTht: It must be Paul, they’re all called Paul.
*The Pope’s actual name is Francis, not Paul…
8. What’s your favourite face-filter on insta?
“I don’t even know the face-filters on insta, how does that work?”
iDidTht: OMG you’re a millennial Travys! Ugh, go to insta-stories and click on the face thing. Now choose one, screenshot, send to us.
Travys: “How do I? Oh, okay there. It’s not reading my face…oh okay. I found it. Now how do I send it…okay got it.”
iDidTht: You seem to be struggling with technology Trav?
Travys: “Look I know graphics, computers etc. that’s my thing, but this, no.”
iDidTht: Travys! You have 10 000 followers on Instagram and you can’t face-filter?! Did you even know that when you have 10 000 followers you can do ‘Swipe up’ on insta-stories?
Travys: “Really? I didn’t know that.”
iDidTht: Instagram fame is so wasted on you.
Travys: “Haha, did you get the photo?”
iDidTht: Yes, but why that one?
Travys: “I’m drawn to surreal stuff. I guess that’s why I love nature so much. It’s so beautiful because it’s almost not real.”
Travys can make anything look cool, even the space face-filter guys. He’s bold enough to say ‘this is me’ and there is nothing vanilla about that. They say real artists have a point of view and although everyone might not like their work, people will only love it if some people hate it. Just ask the Kardashians. Not that we can imagine anyone hating Travys, but we definitely love him. Well, this is about the time in the Editorial where we should be suggesting that you go and follow him on Instagram but he doesn’t need it! So rather call up Gentlemen Films, go bold and get him as your Director.
Produced by the iDidTht Content Studio
Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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