A Permanent PassionNov 01, 2018 ● By Allie Spletter
Tattoos are a wildly-popular form of expression around the world, and there are not many better ways to commit to a passion than to have it permanently inked on your body. Depending on who you are, tattoos can be representative of your experiences, beliefs, something cherished or simply something you think is fun! Frisco native Travis Chick was lucky to discover early on that his passion lies in art and allowing others to flourish through tattooing as a medium of expression, growth, exploration and life.
Mr. Chick has called Frisco home since the age of eight, when he and his parents, Anita and Carl, along with his older brother, Josh, moved to Frisco. “Back then, Frisco was a small town. Preston Road was a two-lane road, there was no Tollway. Brookshire’s was the biggest business in town. When we moved to Frisco, we were the last house on the block, but now, Frisco has grown into multiple housing developments extending past that,” he recalls. Both brothers attended Rogers Elementary, Staley Middle School and went on to become graduates of Frisco High School.
Mr. Chick recalls, “In high school, Josh got into art and I followed suit. Art seemed to be the one thing I excelled in more than him,” he explains. “My first semester of art class was with Ms. Hardy, after which she told me to grab my stuff. We walked through a hallway to the AP art classes and she introduced me to Ms. Waggoner. To be honest, I felt a little out of my league because I seemed to be the only one in my grade in that class. After a few weeks, Ms. Waggoner moved me to the matting room. She told me I could work from there, had to complete 12 projects to pass her class and allowed me to spend the rest of my time on competition pieces. From there, I started doing as many competitions as I could while in school.”
After graduation, Mr. Chick knew he had found his passion in art and if he did not pursue art through tattooing as a career, he would never forgive himself. “After having my son, I found a revived passion and ambition to focus on this goal, not only for myself, but for our future. It took me a while to get an apprenticeship with a tattoo artist, and there was a point when I found myself out of a job,” he remembers.
As a result of his brief unemployment, a friend of Mr. Chick’s suggested the Army National Guard, as it would allow him to be home with his family, earn a living and support his country. “I joined the National Guard in April 2011 as a 91L Heavy Machinery Repairer. In 2012, I was fortunate to find a great artist, Kayden DiGiovanni, to apprentice me.”
As Mr. Chick finished his apprenticeship, in 2014, he was deployed to Afghanistan as a 12B Combat Engineer performing route clearance. Upon Mr. Chick’s return in 2015, Mr. DiGiovanni moved to Colo. and offered to sell the private studio and business he had built. “With the support of my family, I bought the business, quit my job in Fort Worth and put everything I had into tattooing. Having just come back from Afghanistan, being in a private studio allowed me to minimize my social exposure and gave me the opportunity to slowly assimilate myself back into the real world, which was an invaluable experience.”
During this transitional time in Mr. Chick’s life, his parents played an integral part in helping him grow his business, as they supported him through his divorce, having his son full-time and growing and creating his own business. “My parents were always there to help and support,” Mr. Chick says.
In 2017, Mr. DiGiovanni came back from Colo. with plans to travel and tattoo. “I pitched him an idea of turning our small private studio into a large studio to accommodate walk-ins we were turning away by growing and hiring more artists. We agreed, opened the expanded shop and moved into our current location in June 2018,” Mr. Chick shares.
In opening his own shop, Mr. Chick says it has opened doors for him to share what he feels to be the integral and moral center of tattooing, which is the art itself, by creating an environment that allows artists to focus on their art. “By feeding their artistic nature, tattoo artists can grow creatively and become better artists. We hope to allow each of the artists the opportunity to grow and broaden their horizons, while inspiring one another. Our goal is that the positive environment enables them to become the best tattoo artists they aspire to be,” he explains.
As he has grown as a person, tattoo artist and businessman, Mr. Chick still aspires to better himself by honing his craft, whether that is through tattooing or other mediums of art. “In high school, I was partial to pencil drawing and found a knack for charcoal and pastels. Because of my ADD, I did not have the patience for painting. Although, in more recent years, I have found the patience to broaden my own horizons and dabble with watercolors and acrylics and have taken the occasional art class to expand my practice. I have an appreciation and thirst for knowledge about all art forms, whether it is digital or performance art, along with more traditional art. My girlfriend introduced me to the ballet and symphony. It has helped me appreciate the beauty within the expression of the human soul because, to me, that is what art is. Because I feel so strongly, it drives me to want to share and help our artists explore their own thirst for artistic knowledge.”
Though much of his focus lies in bettering himself as an artist, as well as helping his tattoo artists, being a business owner has allowed Mr. Chick to grow personally and professionally. “Being in business for myself has really taught me to take the good with the bad, always push through the hard times, stick to what is morally right with art and do what is right by my clients by giving them the best product … not to just make a dollar. I have learned that staying focused on the quality of my work is what pulls everything together. By focusing on the art I am creating, everything else falls into place,” he admits. “It has taught me quite a bit of patience and to be positive things will work out as you stay focused.”
Mr. Chick explains, “There will be negatives and downfalls to overcome. It is vitally important to maintain integrity, honesty and respect for the people you work with and yourself.” As Mr. Chick has moved and grown through the seasons of life and business, Frisco has grown with him. He says it has provided his family with everything they have needed — housing, job opportunities, economic growth and great schools with inspiring educators. “I would not have had the opportunities or support from teachers and the community if I had not grown up and gone to the schools I did. I am excited to continue growing my own family here in Frisco. We want my son and our new baby, due in March, to experience the community support and encouragement my family found when we originally moved here.”
Passion is sometimes only realized through determination, grit and an ability to put the blinders on and make things happen. Mr. Chick’s passion for art and expression has been permanently (and literally) showcased on the bodies of hundreds of Dallas Tattoo clients. Using gifts and talents really does leave a lasting mark on others.