Flint, MI—Past a black-walled anteroom and a powder blue door from an old Flint Police car waiting to be hung, Travis “Cryptic” Ricketts stood at his computer editing photos in his downtown Flint studio, Studio/Crypt.

“The soft open was Feb. 4,” Ricketts said, turning to reveal caricatures of Steve Yzerman and Sergei Federov grinning from a 1997 Red Wings Stanley Cup t-shirt. “I’m officially open, just getting the final stuff done, like the website.”

Ricketts has been part of Flint’s photography and video scene for years and describes his past work as street art photography, documentary, and portraiture. But, he said, he hopes to use Studio/Crypt to branch out. 

“I want to do anything and everything,” he said with a laugh. “I want to be more artistic… I think more commercial work in the future.”

He checks an image on his laptop again—two figures bathed in a dreamy purple light—before offering a quick tour of the studio suite. 

New downtown Flint, Mich. photography studio, Studio / Crypt on Feb. 10, 2022. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

The front room, the black-walled space, will soon be one-half street scene and one-half rotating decor.

“It’s going to be changeable themes,” Ricketts said, putting one hand through his mop of curly reddish-blonde hair. “Probably like seasonal holidays.”

Aside from this room, which is tucked toward the interior of downtown Flint’s Paterson building, the rest of Studio/Crypt is flooded with natural light. 

Ricketts walked over to the only space with a locking door: the studio’s changing area. It’s filled with vintage pieces, an arched mirror, and a retro accent paint job of green, peach, and burnt yellow hues.

“And this is the main area,” Ricketts said, re-entering the large white-walled studio with a proud, sweeping arm motion. 

New downtown Flint, Mich. photography studio, Studio / Crypt on Feb. 10, 2022. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Just then, Studio/Crypt’s co-founder Anthony Arline walked in with a Halo Burger bag.

“Sorry I’m late,” Arline said, passing by Ricketts toward the kitchen area. Ricketts took the opportunity to explain that he and Arline connected at just the right time to make Studio/Crypt happen.

Arline is CEO of WAV Village, a rentable music and podcast production studio just across the hall from Studio/Crypt. Ricketts said that one day he was talking to Arline about his vision for a downtown photography studio, and the CEO stopped him and offered to support it then and there. 

Arline looked up from his chicken tender. 

“I’ve always been a fan of Crypt,” he said. “I just know his work and know how much he puts into it. So when he presented me with the idea it was a no brainer.”

One of Travis “Cryptic” Ricketts first creative photoshoots in the studio. (Photo courtesy Travis “Cryptic” Ricketts)

Ricketts blushed slightly at the praise, his face momentarily matching his hair. 

The pair then talked about their goals for Studio/Crypt in the long term.

“Anyone can rent it out, any photographer, videographer,” Ricketts said. 

He and Arline agreed that they ultimately hope to provide some type of joint package between WAV Village and Studio/Crypt in the future, so people can record their music and a video or cover art in one place.

“But this space is not just for us,” Arline stressed.

“Yeah,” Ricketts said. “It’s for every creative. You can come here and be creative yourself and not have to worry about any distractions.”

Studio/Crypt is located on the third floor of downtown Flint’s Paterson Building at 653 S. Saginaw Street. The website launch is to be determined, but in the meantime bookings and questions can be directed to Ricketts’ Instagram account.

New downtown Flint, Mich. photography studio, Studio / Crypt on Feb. 10, 2022. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....

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