The first has to do with skateboarding, my first true love. Like many
shredders before me, I moved to San Francisco by way of Milwaukee in
the summer of 1997 to be a part of The city's then-bustling
skateboarding scene. During the early- to mid-'90s, Embarcadero's Justin
Herman Plaza, known amongst skateboarders as "EMB," was without
question the most famous skate spot in the world. One could find an
upward of 200 individuals skating the plaza, which served as a proving
ground for any newcomers trying to make a name in skateboarding. (The
original Justin Herman plaza was demolished and rebuilt in 1999.) I
grew up studying skate mags and videos that were filled with EMB
footage, and although somewhat dilapidated at the time, the Ferry
Building was almost always visible in the background. The building
added a nice ambiance to the spot, especially when lit up at night.
clock and signifies withstanding the test of time. As I said, I moved
to the city from Milwaukee in the summer of '97, fresh out of high
school. It wasn't easy. I had $500, my skateboard and a duffel bag
containing nothing but the essentials: two weeks worth of clothing,
toiletries, a walkman and some cassette tapes. That's it. The city had
less than 1 percent vacancy at the time, so finding an affordable place to
live was literally next to impossible. I stayed in a couple of sketchy
weekly hotels in the Tenderloin and couch- and floor-surfed for almost a
year before securing a sectioned off hallway space in a ramshackle flat
in Lower Haight, just down the hill from a then-war zone. The hallway
was nicknamed "The Taco," because the walls were so narrow that my
hand-me-down futon mattress folded up on both sides resembling a taco
I have been living and progressing in San Francisco ever since.
I feel like I've truly paid some dues to live here. I actually just
celebrated my 12-year anniversary a few weeks back.
Any Regrets?: No regrets, I love the tattoo. Marco Casado at Picture Machine hooked it up proper.
Strangest/Funniest Comment: Some random drunk guy came up to me at a party out-of-state the summer before last and said, "You must be a Jesus fanatic."
"Huh?" I replied, "Why you say that?"
"Because of that blaring cathedral and apocalyptic scene you have tatted on your arm forearm, bro," he said.
I then proceeded to tell the man what the tattoo really was and the
meaning behind it, but he didn't get it, not that I thought he would.
Do you have any other tattoos?: I have the Czech lion with the
numbers 222 underneath it tattooed on the inside of my left forearm. I
got the tattoo in Prague back in 2007 when my wife and I were married.
The numbers represent something special between me and my wife. I
should also mention that I have the time on the clock of my Ferry
Building tattoo set to 2:22.
As far as future tattoos go, I plan to get a large piece done on my
left shoulder here in the next couple of months. That'll pretty much
finish my entire left arm. The artwork is by artist Kevin Ancel and
depicts a young boy standing in the middle of a lush field with his
arms stretched -- simulating flying and the sky looks all crazy, like a
major storm is brewing on the horizon. The artwork was used for former
professional skateboarder James "Big Dirt" Kelch's first pro model
graphic for Real Skateboards back in 1992. I always loved the
graphic. According to Kelch, an old Delta billboard he saw out by the
airport -- although I'm unable to find the original anywhere online -- inspired the piece.
Travis shared his story with us via the internets. Thanks, Travis!
You can, too. Send your photos and stories to email@example.com.