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Meet Renee Torres of Mojave Art

Today we’d like to introduce you to Renee Torres.

Renee, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Launching my Mojave Art project is about life coming full circle for me, and it’s a project that’s about my roots and the beginning of my own creative exploration. I was raised in Victorville, CA – and grew up with the beautiful Mojave Desert as my literal backyard.

My sense of wonder of the universe sparked when my dad started taking us out into the pitch black desert to watch meteor showers, with little or no light pollution around us. The world became cinematic to me. In my teens, we moved to the SF Bay Area, and I was given a vintage SLR camera by a family friend. I also used a Lomography fisheye camera and embarked on weekend trips to San Francisco and Berkeley to shoot anything and everything.

At this time, I also was exposed to the work of Bill Viola and Olafur Eliasson and had made a few acquaintances with Japanese fashion designers in the Bay Area. All that to say, I ended up studying fashion design in San Francisco – and not photography like originally intended. During the last ten years, I’ve worked in the fashion design industry, retail, and recently in the interior design industry since moving to Los Angeles from New York. It was during my last year in New York that California really began to call for me again.

I needed the desert, the ocean, the mountains – I missed my mystic encounters with nature and the creativity that flourished in my life while living here. Newly arrived in Los Angeles, I decided to embark on a photographic project called “The Last Golden Coast,” which is a series of black & white film panoramics that were based on my travels to the places I visited as a child. Imagining as if I was a pioneer in some way, the pictures are about exploration of nature and reverence for its history.

The pictures are grainy, hazy, and have melancholy to them. They could have been taken 100 years ago, or two years ago. I’ve launched Mojave Art this past month, in which I will be taking the series of photography to a more conceptual level with sculptural elements. It’s an art practice rooted in photography but will continue to evolve with different mediums and expressions.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There have been numerous challenges and hardships, which have tested me along the way. I was the first one in my family to pursue creative studies and attend an art college, even though my family is dotted with many creatives and designers (who were told it wasn’t “practical” to study art). However, three years into college, funding ran out, and I never was able to graduate.

I was even accepted into a very prestigious fashion college in London – however, my family was unable to support this en devour. I was heartbroken for a few years to be honest, as I’ve always wanted to live abroad. However, the Universe had other plans for me, and I ended up getting a job in New York where I stayed for three years.

It was during this time I worked for Acne Studios and Dover St Market. It was during this time I also developed a love for design, architecture, and interiors. These three years were a time to hash out ideas, be a creative sponge, and I also was able to do a yearlong business mentorship with a client that I met while working at Dover St Market.

My path has kind of been the long road, to be honest, but everything I’ve achieved up to this point has been with true grit and total love. Everyone has something deeply great in them. By maintaining this belief and nurturing my creative practice, I’ve had incredible doors open for me. I can now appreciate all of the struggles.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Mojave Art is an art studio that focuses on photography and conceptual art. Because I work in the interior design industry, I’m launching a platform that sells large scale photography to residential and commercial design firms in 2019. I’m excited to work with an industry that I truly enjoy, and enjoy the collaborations that are to come.

I’ve done a ‘soft launch’ this past November, and had the opportunity to sell quite a few pieces to residential designers and end users alike. These opportunities help support the creative ambitions of Mojave Art, so it’s an incredible feeling to see something take off.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in the eighties, and very much enjoyed the fashion and music of my youth. I had a penchant for performance, so I liked to entertain my families dinner guests with my spirited renditions of “La Bamba” on my Keytar. If you know what a Keytar is, I’m sure you can only imagine how cool I must have been. I was very artistically inclined and would spend my afternoons drawing or reading books.

I think I’ve always had this introverted, spiritual sensibility as well – always pondering about the universe. I started drawing people from a very young age and was moving into painting and sculpture by the time I was a teenager. I don’t remember a time in my life where I haven’t been creating in some capacity.

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