I met Travis a few years back through Tim Dowling. We had similar things going on in our lives at the same time so we connected right off the bat. Being a fan of what he does in and throughout the city of San Francisco with his life and photography got me super stoked at the idea of having him apart of our Summer offering. Thank you Travis!
I moved to San Francisco by way of Milwaukee 15 years ago, fresh out of high school, to be a part of the skateboard movement happening here at the time. I had $600 and some change to my name. It didn’t take long before I found myself living in an SRO (Single Room Occupancy) in the Tenderloin, one of the City’s less desirable ‘hoods. The rent was $125 a week, cash. I split the room with a friend that I had met skating at Pier 7. My money ran dry quickly, resulting in eviction.
From there, I couched and floor surfed around the Tenderloin — accumulating bed bug and flea bites, going days at a time without eating. About a year had passed before I eventually scored a closet space in a skate house in the Lower Haight. My life has been a gradual progression, with various ups and downs, ever since.
Fast forward to present: I’m in my early 30s, married with two kids and work a full-time job at a law firm downtown. Life is good, but I now face a whole different set of problems, like the fact that the City has been gentrified to the point where it’s becoming almost too expensive for the working middle class to live here. I also worry about schooling for my kids and making sure all my bills are paid on time, amongst other things.
“The City’s Getting To Me” speaks to the notions of trying to make it in The City, any city for that matter. City life is not easy. Simple tasks like going to the grocery store, dropping your kids off at school and going to the post office can be a nerve wrecking experience, but this is the life I choose. At times, I feel like one of those birds in the photo, just trying to survive amidst the chaos like everyone else.
This photo was snapped in the Tenderloin, a place I frequently shoot photos and serves as a throwback to where my adventure in The City began. I feel like I’ve truly paid some dues to live here and am damn proud to call myself a San Franciscan.
Big thanks to Rick Ibaseta, a native San Franciscan and one of my all-time favorite skateboarders, for modeling the shirt for me. Much love and respect, my man…