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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Furly Art displayed around downtown San Marcos

A+Furly+Art+banner+hangs+on+a+streetlamp%2C+Sunday%2C+Feb.+5%2C+2023%2C+in+Downtown+San+Marcos.

A Furly Art banner hangs on a streetlamp, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Downtown San Marcos.

San Marcos visitors and residents may have noticed new banners portraying vibrant birds playing musical instruments poised on lamposts around The Square. The birds’ creator is Furly Travis aka Furly Art, a local San Martian who is so dedicated to his craft that he considers “art” to be part of his name. Travis’ colorful “Furly Birds” as he calls them will be on display downtown for the next three months.
On Jan. 19, Downtown SMTX installed the 2-by-4-foot banners along LBJ Drive, Hopkins, Guadalupe and San Antonio Streets. Displayed are two unique designs that illustrate Travis’ signature Furly Birds. Travis said the birds appear in the majority of his pieces.
“I usually paint what comes to my mind. And it happens to be a very cartoon, colorful bird place, which was very easy for me to draw as those birds,” Travis said.
Travis has been living and creating art in this San Marcos for twenty years, and many of his pieces are influenced by the city’s uniqueness. He wants to create a piece that portrays a Furly Bird holding onto a San Marcos mermaid.
The San Marcos Art League played a big part in helping Travis get his work recognized recently. The organization asked Travis to paint a mural for their walking gallery on LBJ Drive. From there, his talent was recognized and he was offered the job to create the street banners.
Travis has aspired to display his art since he began painting at 19 years old. San Martians have embraced Travis and his artwork, some calling him the unofficial mascot of San Marcos. For the past two decades, Travis’ art has remained relatively unknown outside of the art community.
The release of the banners will increase support and recognition for his work. His quirky style is what makes his artwork recognizable. Travis said the support he has received so far is a great honor.
“I’m so happy that his stuff is finally coming out into the city because he is a big part of the city. He’s lived here a long time, some people have even talked about calling him the San Marcos mascot which is appropriate because he has been here so long,” Balkman said.
Travis’ birds are not only sold as paintings but also as “Burly Yard Birds” which are large paintings of the birds that are then cut out of wood and displayed in people’s yards. The pieces are on display in Travis’ own yard and he is currently working on an 8-foot-tall Burly Yard Bird.
Travis has also been displaying and selling his art for 15 years at Wake the Dead Coffee House, a local coffee shop in San Marcos known for giving local artists a place to sell their work. He has been friends with Julie Baulkman, the owner of Wake the Dead, since 1994, and in that time Balkman has purchased multiple Travis’ pieces for herself and for others.
“I like to support anybody who supports themselves and who is proud of themselves, I want to be proud of them too.” Julie Balkman, owner of Wake the Dead said.
Wake the Dead has always been an inviting space for both rookies and established artists like Travis in the community. Last month, Travis’ art event, the Furly Art Reception, had Wake the Dead lively and brimming with his artwork. Three separate artists came to display their work at the coffee shop and Travis’ art filled the main room. Travis’ wife and local musician Molly J. Hayes performed original songs and covers.
It was an opportunity for people to buy Travis’ art directly from him and for Travis to celebrate the unveiling of his street banners.
“[The event] just happened that it coincided with the release of the banners,” Travis said. “It was just the universe came together and was like, ‘yeah dude, let’s do this.'”
Travis has always embraced his creativity whether that be in music, art or acting. He was a member of the Happy Trees, a local group, which was his first venture into music. Travis is also his own one-man band called Unsurpassed Prophet. The discography is primarily slacker rock and psychedelic.
“I’ve always inspired to kind of be known in a way through my music, through my art and through my films,” Travis said.
On the day that the banners were installed, Travis’ friends, family and supporters gathered to celebrate and witness the installation. Hayes said she is proud of her husband for his accomplishments and is happy to see his work being appreciated.
“He’s painted hundreds, literally hundreds of paintings,” Hayes said. “To get to see the acknowledgment from his community that we both grew up in to see that acknowledgment of his hard work and of his personal style and his creativity it makes me emotional.”
To support Furly “Art” Travis, visit http://www.furlyart.net or @furly_travis on Instagram.

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