Travis Barron is the definition of an artist. His many talents doesn’t go unnoticed in the industry. This creator owns a company called Crystal Lotus Studios. As a photographer, video recorder and editor, and graphic designer, he tries his best to be a catalyst to the truest of talents. He loves working with live musicians, DJ’s and performance artists, painters, models and families alike. He’s willing to cover a wide range of subjects including; music events, benefits, family photos and weddings, to boudoir and short film. Travis might not be a native to Chicago but he found a warm spot for him and his skills. His goal and purpose is to help manage and amplify business for artists, photographers and videographers alike, along with creating content for commercial businesses. If you need his help capturing your special moments, or to help boost your career to the next level, give Travis a follow and get in contact!
How would you describe yourself and your background?
I am a Midwestern dream chaser, photographer, graphic artist, and musician, on a quest to help catalyze the careers of people within the creative industries! I’m originally from small town, Iowa and Illinois, a humble people that are passionate about their beer, live music, and the great outdoors. I found myself deeply attached to the sounds of House and Techno while living in Iowa, where intimate venues, warehouses and private properties were flourishing with large sound system, late nights, and deep frequencies. My obsession has now lead down the path searching for more, which leaves me here Chicago, the Home of House Music. I’ve been here for two years, and since I’ve have had the amazing opportunity to work with multiple record labels, Chicago vendors, a large handful of artists and collectives, and I have also managed to help and design a few different shows?!
Who would you say are your biggest inspirations within the industry?
I honestly love what Dirty Bird Records has been doing! Claude is a frickin’ goofball, and really brings a light hearted energy to everything he does. I’m also a huge fan of all the album art they put out. They all have a super vibrant and wicked creative theme to everything they put out. What we do with music is so much fun, and some people easily get lost in acting way to serious. We are privileged to live in a world that allows us to express ourselves with light and sound! It’s always refreshing to see someone as big as them having a fun and playful energy, while still a very serious attitude about their distribution and execution. Everything from their brand strategy to their merch is polished! As a creator, I aspire to one day reach that level of greatness!
What was the moment you wanted to take the leap in this lifestyle?
I was working a lack luster 9 – 5 job, and one day I just broke. I knew in my heart that there was more to life than grinding away for a job that could care less about my future, working me to death, only to just be a “means to an end” in life. That same day I quit my job, took all of my savings and dropped them on a camera, and decided to never look back!
I was quickly swept into the music industry, shooting every show and event I could, ranging from violent hardcore metal mosh pits, and deep dark blues bars, only to find my heart was in love with large sound systems and electronic dance music! Eventually portraiture became something I grew to love, which has lead me to doing studio work, including headshots for artists
You own a company called Crystal Lotus Studios. When did it originate and what inspired you to move forward with creation?
Crystal Lotus Studios was manifested in 2014, with the objective to bring light to artists and musicians that work so very hard on producing music for people. I’ve always been fascinated at how beautiful people can be when they are doing something they are truly passionate about. There is a fire in their eyes that lights up, and that has been the driving force of the moments I try to capture for virtual eternity.
What do you usually start with when preparing for an event? (pictures/set/etc.)
When it comes to DJ’ing, setting a solid vibe, that tells a story is so important to me. I try my best to Imagine what story I tell during my sets, and I deep I want to go based on environment. As far as photography goes, I try to always have gear that will compliment the situation I am thrown into. Sometimes I have no idea what the lighting provided will be at a gig, so I try my best to have tons of extra tricks in my bag to guarantee I can do a great job!
What are your main challenges as an artist currently?
There are never enough hours in the day! As I take on more adventures and capture more stories, it can be very challenging keeping up with the constant flow! I’ve found that it is super important to knock out project as fast as I can. If I ever slow down to much, I will get drown in the chaos of the next big thing that follows. It’s important to stay on top of everything as it comes, and find a flow my process.
What is your proudest moment so far (blogged/signed/etc..)
Honestly, looking back at everything I’ve done, its kind of a trip to look at all of the insane amounts of talent I’ve been blessed to work alongside!? Between major festivals, underground parties, and everything in between, it all has been so very humbling. So to say that I’m an artist living in 2020, that is allowed to keep a roof over my head, and and a warm place to sleep at night is what makes me proudest. I don’t know, shooting video at Summer camp was pretty freaking awesome though.
What future events do you have lined up?
This year is PACKED with events already, and with the way things are looking more are on the way. I’m thrilled to be managing The Tripp Brothers, an act that is now playing multiple festivals including Summer Camp, 515 Alive, and tons more parties across the Midwest. Which means I’ve got some photo adventures ahead of me! I have also been working closely with Good Looks Chicago, adding an extra lens to their events, making sure everyone gets a nice snap. Who knows maybe you’ll see me out shooting sometime soon?!
What are your top three tracks right now? Why?
“Our Love” – Will Clarke & Eli Brown – The hypnotic delivery, chunky bassline, ambient vibes, and naughty clap create the perfect combination, that gets any dancefloor hoppin’!
“Hannibal Chew” – Billy Kenny – I’m a sucker for a high energy bass groove! They also contribute such a warm analog synthesizer element that ties it all together beautifully!
“Such Great Heights” – The Postal Service – Forever on my top 3, because I refuse to let the sappy emo boy die in me.
If you had to do something else (outside of the music industry), what would it be?
Whoa. I couldn’t imagine my life without music being a core of my life, but sure.. hmm… I think I would do something related to farming, cooking, or maybe something related to ecology. I love all of the natural things in the world, forests, animals, and how they all tie together!
What’s your favorite venue to attend? Why?
Redrocks, hands down is the most magical venue! The way the sun sets, moon rises and air changes while you jam out to your favorite live performances is an insane experience! You essentially are looking over the whole crowd, beyond venue, and view of the lights of denver from a mountain top!? It doesn’t get much better than that!
What’s your favorite restaurant in Chicago?
I’m a huge fan of fresh, organic, non-gmo hippy dippy food. Honestly though, Duseks fuckin’ smacks! I ordered a fried chicken, with collard greens and mac and cheese, and it was served at a fine dining level of excellence. The chicken was perfectly battered, crispy, and seasoned…. I better stop, I’m making myself hungry.
What was your favorite show that you’ve recently been or played in Chicago?
The best time I’ve had yet while mixing, was during the summer, James Chesney set up rooftop parties, that overlooked Navy Pier, the whole city, and we could see for miles along the coast. It was purely magical to watch the sunset over the city. It really gave me a scope of the true magnitude of Chicago, and how beautiful it really can be!
What’s your current favorite show (tv/netflix/etc…) worth binging?
Holy shit, I absolutely loved “The Witcher”, a monster slaying bad ass, that uses magic? Hell yeah, I’m in.
What is a quote or phrase that you try to live by? Why?
“Practice, what you preach.” I try so hard to push myself as hard as I push others. I see so much potential in my friends, and I always want them to put out more creative work! I need to match that outer voice, and try to channel it inward as well.
Tell us something that you’re doing now and are excited about.
I’m super excited to be working alongside Good Looks Chicago! I had the wonderful opportunity of working with you guys last summer fourth of July, and that was probably one of my favorite shows to date! I can’t wait to see what else 2020 will bring us!?
What should we expect from you in 2020?
Big Tings. Hahahaha, I’m kidding. You can expect to see tons of art, photos from festivals and shows, and maybe a couple recap videos, lots of crazy adventures on my instagram story, and hopefully by the end of the year I will release my first solo track!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Hey thanks so much for having me, this was a lot of fun! If you want to see more of my work or what I’m up to, hop on over to my website and check out some of my most recent stuff! I also work alongside another photographer @CynthiaCaptures, please check her work out on instagram too, she’s crazy good!
Follow Travis Barron:
WRITTEN & CURATED BY MARIAH M. VAZQUEZ