Kevin Travers never intended to become an artist. It wasn’t his childhood dream – he never studied art in school or took any studio classes in sculpture. Yet somehow during the course of building a 25-year career in carpentry and remodeling while simultaneously raising a family, art found him, and now it plays a huge role in his life and goals for the future.
Born in Pawtucket and raised in East Providence and Charlestown, Kevin studied carpentry at Chariho Tech in Wood River Junction in high school. Following school, he gave many years of hard work to a contractor based in Stonington, CT, only to lose his job when the 35-year-old business went belly up in the economic crash of 2008. After a couple of years with little success finding steady work, Kevin decided to branch out and start his own remodeling firm in Hope Valley about five years ago; he named it American Revolution Design.
“It kind of just rolled off the tongue one day, and I went with it,” says Kevin.
As his business grew, Kevin found himself pulled towards something new in order to cultivate and apply skills in furniture renovation and design. It was his first step in a more creative direction, while still serving as a functional and easily marketable craft.
One Easter, Kevin decided to make something fun for his daughter and nieces. He gathered found objects and shopped for needed parts to construct three “bunny bots” to give to the kids. Little did he know it would be the start of a whole new chapter in his life; his family had never seen anything like them, and Kevin’s wife immediately asked, “What else can you make?”
“So I went and found out!” Kevin laughs.
Using found objects and mostly recycled parts, Kevin began making dozens of his own unique toy characters. He brought some to a couple of art shows, where they were well received with several purchased.
What started off as an accidental hobby is something that Kevin hopes to one day turn into a real business venture, and he is already in the concept stages of a new website and thinking about marketing, branding, clothing, prints and animated storyline options.
“I took a two-day class given by a Pixar animator at New England Tech to learn about character development and story writing. I’m just trying to make connections in the industry right now,” says Kevin. “I’m learning some of the software, how to reproduce my art through that format. I don’t know where it will take me, but I love doing it and the feedback has been great.”
Kevin has taken a “slow and steady wins the race” approach to managing his career while cultivating his passions, and it’s certainly working. Almost entirely self-taught, he takes time each day to work on building his designs piece by piece, just like his sculptures.
Many of his designs are one-of-a-kind and not for sale; he prefers to go through the copywriting and trademarking process first. He will happily do sculpture work on commission, but for now, he’s biding his time before spreading the word about his characters and is patient about selling them.
Keep an eye out, though, because you might be hearing a lot more about Kevin and his characters in the near future.
American Revolution Design