Tramaine Townsend’s work is unsettling. Visit the multimedia artist’s website and you will see this right away. The homepage displays a portrait of a woman holding a crumpled can of Coke, soda tears streaming down her face. Scroll down and you will find a man snorting Starbucks. It only gets more surreal from here.
Townsend, a Houston transplant and longtime Dallas resident, employs photography, filmmaking, animation, sculpture, and any other tools necessary, to create fascinating—and sometimes disturbing—pieces.
“I dabble in whatever medium can work towards what I am trying to accomplish,” Townsend says. “The main things have been photography and filmmaking, and animation is what I do for my day-to-day work.”
All of these mediums collide in his ongoing series, “Terminus,” which depicts people getting ready for the impending apocalypse.
“Everyone knows it’s about to be the end of the world in this realm. And it really breaks it down, and personifies individuals in this world, who can probably be related to people we know in real life, or to ourselves in general, and just your perception of how that will be,” he says. “Because you’ll never know how the world will end, and that’s how I want to keep it. I want people to figure that out on their own, to know how they’re going to take it whenever the world does end.”
The artist is currently writing a short film to expand upon the series.
“That’s another thing I started taking on right now is writing. Because I’m not really a writer, but I’m taking screenwriting classes, and learning how to write, and writing a couple films,” he says.
Townsend hopes that this will push his filmmaking to another level, and bring the concepts behind his work to fruition.
“I want to get to a larger platform of short films, maybe going on to more feature films. Directing is definitely the end game when it comes to making these now,” he says. “I want to do bigger projects like that, to actually put these stories out that I always had in my head, where I’m starting to write them, because I just love being a storyteller.”
He applies his talent for storytelling to music videos as well. Last December, he made the video for Dark Rooms’ “Polaroid,” and now he’s finishing a video for the rapper, Blue, The Misfit.
Townsend says he’s glad that the Dallas arts scene has grown enough to support collaboration between local artists.
“In the past four or five years, I’ve definitely seen a significant change in Dallas to where we are being pushed a whole lot more,” he says. “We’re being more collaborative, where I feel like in years past we weren’t so much that way. I like seeing that, because all of us are really great, and we’ve developed our artwork now at this point, to where we can come together and not feel like we’re stepping on each other’s toes, because we have our certain styles.”
You can view Townsend’s work digitally on the artist’s website and artsy page, and in an upcoming digital exhibition through Level Gallery. His work will also be on display this month at the Plano Artfest, and next fall at Aurora.