Editor of The Northern Light, Ill. Alan E. Foulds, 33˚, recently talked with Bro. Travis Simpkins – a man who has put his artistic talents to use for the fraternity over the past several months. Among his work for the craft have been portraits of many of our departed Active and Active Emeritus Members, for use in a visual memorial during last year’s Annual Meeting in Rochester. In addition, he has been commissioned to do portraits for the Sovereign Grand Commander and Grand Masters within the jurisdiction. Here’s what he has to say:

TNL: Tell me Travis. What lodge and Valley do you belong to?

Bro. Simpkins: I am a member of Morningstar Lodge in Worcester. For Scottish Rite, I am a member of the Valley of Worcester, and the Valley of Boston for Consistory.

Travis Simpkins Worcester Magazine 2014 By Steven King

TNL: How long have you been a Mason?

Bro. Simpkins: A relatively short time. I joined my blue lodge about two years ago, and this April (2018), I will have been a 32˚ Mason for a year.

TNL: Tell me about your art background. Is this what you do for a living, or is it a hobby?

Bro. Simpkins: I have been doing this work professionally for about 18 years. I work out of my home studio.

Travis Simpkins art

TNL: What are your chief mediums and subjects?

Bro. Simpkins: Mostly I do portraiture. I work in both charcoal and oils. Many of my projects originate at museums. For instance, I will do copies of works at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, as gifts during staff retirements or other recognitions. Also, I have done sketches of sculptures. Another place where you’ll see my work is author portraits in their books. Recently I created an image of Ill. Arturo deHoyos, 33, of the Southern Jurisdiction. I drew an image of a bust of Albert Pike which appeared on the cover of a magazine for the Masonic Society. Currently I am working on oil paintings for the Grand Masters of both Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Albert Pike by Travis Simpkins

TNL: How do you divide your day?

Bro. Simpkins: Actually, I have a simple routine. In the morning I work at paintingpaint, and in the afternoon, I do my drawing.

TNL: Do you have a favorite artist – someone whom you emulate or look to for inspiration?

Bro. Simpkins: I like Norman Rockwell. Also, I admire 19th and early 20th century artists such as John Singer Sargent. My charcoal work is much in the renaissance style.

TNL: How did you become involved with the memorials project for Supreme Council?

Bro. Simpkins: My first connections with the Masonic work came before this particular project. I was called and asked to update a portrait of Ill. David A. Glattly, 33˚, before he was elected as Sovereign Grand Commander. Ill. William Holland, 33˚, saw my work and asked if I would do a series of drawings for the Annual Meeting Necrology. Now I am working on doing the same for all the current Active and Active Emeritus Members. Five down and about a hundred to go.

David Glattly portrait by Travis Simpkins

TNL: Your work looks great and it is deeply appreciated by our membership. Thank you.

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For more information about Travis Simpkins and to see his artwork, visit his website Art Crime Illustrated. Also, look out for the print copy of this Q & A in an upcoming issue on The Northern Light. If you know of a Scottish Rite Mason who would be a great candidate for a Q & A, let us know!