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Piece of the Week: ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ by Travis Clarke

In our newest Piece of the WeekTravis Clarke has brought his soft, expressive style to “Pursuit of Happiness” and created a moment that perfectly encapsulates that feeling of striving for something better, and it’s a moment that everyone can relate to.

"Pursuit of Happiness" by Travis Clarke

I like the use of paint in the figure’s clothing, playfully applied using broad, sketchy brush strokes. I also appreciate the palette of light and dizzying pastels that are offset by the dark feathers and shorts on the boy, while his flying flip-flop in the background becomes a secondary focal point, guiding our eyes around the piece.

About his piece, Clarke says:

“Sometimes we leap and reach out, with our fingers, with our hearts, towards happiness of an ephemeral nature. At times we manage to capture this emotion and our restless endeavors are rewarded. Occasionally we only manage to a seize a piece of it,—a constellation feather from the fleeting forces that compose our aspirations. Other times happiness fades or slips through our fingers completely and leaves us in free fall.

That fall doesn’t prevent us from trying again. As Ray Bradbury put it, we “build our wings on the way down.” We build our wings so that we may take flight, take chances, and pursue happiness, again, and again.”

Works of art such as “Pursuit of Happiness” can be interpreted and enjoyed by a range of audiences — from children, to adults, to animation fans, to experienced artists — and that’s something to celebrate.