Illustrator Travis Price gives some insider tips on his favourite places in and around Ballarat and the Goldfields.
Growing up in the small town of Dimboola, 2.5 hours from Ballarat, he always loved drawing. Motivated by how far he might go with a career on a local, national and even global level, he enrolled to study graphic design in Ballarat, where – after a stint in Melbourne – he has lived for more than 15 years.
'I found weekends in Ballarat just so relaxing [...] I couldn't be happier. There's something about the open space and slower pace that gives you time to think and conceptualise ideas.'
Travis takes us on a tour of his favourite places around Ballarat.
Travis reckons the Ballarat Swap Meet is the town's best-kept secret. For two days each February he and his wife, Renee, scour the extensive array of 'old advertising, packaging and toys, which I find as great inspiration for my own work.' If you can't visit Ballarat in February, the year-round Mill Market and Antik store are also worthwhile for treasure hunters.
The artist loves to get out for weekly walks with friends. They might head off along the fantastic Ballarat Skipton Rail Trail, up Mount Buninyong, to Yarrowee River, or to his favourite spot, Ballarat's picturesque Lake Wendouree. 'It takes about an hour to walk and is always a hub of activity.' Lately he's got into fishing, and has cast the odd line into the lake for trout. Travis is also a fan of the Begonia Festival, the SpringFest and the Ballarat Farmers Market that take place around the lake.
Self-confessed lover of beer, Travis is spoilt for choice in Ballarat. He calculates that if you had a drink at every great bar in town you'd need to call your mum to pick you up. Among the favourites? Pop into Dollar Bill, Red Duck and Cubby Haus for local brews, and bar-hop between Comfort of Strangers, Aunty Jacks, Mitchell Harris, Hop Temple and The Mallow Hotel.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the largest and oldest regional gallery in Australia, and Travis feels fortunate to have it on his doorstep. 'The curation is amazing,' he says. 'There's always something new to see and I always leave inspired to do better and work harder.'
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is Australia's top photographic festival. Travis takes the opportunity every second year to get out with the kids, see the exhibitions, and enjoy the transformation of Ballarat's cafes, restaurants and laneways into temporary gallery spaces.
"It’s exciting to see creatives like myself [...] making positive change within their communities while still pursuing a career on an international level."
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