Today we’d like to introduce you to Vivian Torres.
Vivian, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a First-Generation Mexican American artist balancing my practice between Long Beach and Pomona, CA. I grew up surrounded by a large extended family, filled with creative personalities. Amongst them are graphic designers, design engineers, musicians, illustrators, photographers, seamstresses, etc. As a kid, I was an introvert who enjoyed spending time reading, coloring, crocheting, and essentially absorbing everything I could learn from books. Throughout my entire adolescence, I drew everything I saw: my favorite cartoons, CD albums, and surrounding outdoor environments. My main goal as a young adult was to teach myself to paint the things I loved representationally; however, when I got to college, my perspective changed completely. I knew I wanted to pursue art as a career however, I had no idea how much the Fine Arts program would influence my painting practice. As I began learning about art history and its movements such as abstract expressionism, I soon began my exploration on that path, and continue to do so today.
Has it been a smooth road?
Being a child of immigrants has definitely posed certain struggles for my family and I. My father came to this country at 18 years old, and my mother at three years old. Both had to work throughout their lives to support each other, as well as, my three other siblings. Growing up, we didn’t have an excess of resources, forcing me to express myself artistically and creatively, rather than in extracurricular activities such as sports. In a way, I saw it as a blessing in disguise because I spent all of my time practicing what would become my practice and overall lifestyle. Although choosing an artistic path is not recommended by most, I was fortunate enough to have a family that supported this choice. Stability isn’t what comes to mind when thinking of being a painter, but it felt more like a calling than just another career choice. I know there are plenty more struggles to be faced in this field, but each will be well worth it.
What else should we know about your work and what you are currently focused on?
I am a painter at my core, specializing in abstraction. My work has a strong emphasis on formal aspects such as harmonious color palettes and sensuous compositions. I reference fabrics that directly interact with female bodies, whether it be as traditional dress and clothing or heavily draped over the bodies to express simultaneous notions of concealment and accentuation. I have a deep fascination with the fluidity of textiles and discover similar relationships between them and the organic shapes found within the contours of the body. Although my process begins with observation, my paintings soon transcend space and present new struggles to react to whilst slowly drifting further away from a recognizable object. As an artist, I want to create an emotional experience for my audience overall, but any response to my work is valid and considered.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I love most about LA is the diversity and appreciation for art culture. It is accepting of all and provides numerous opportunities for emerging artists. There aren’t many things I dislike about LA other than the obvious-Traffic! (but that’s inevitable in any major city). Efficient transportation is extremely important, especially when creating relationships and expanding your career. In cities like NYC, the subway is a major benefit to getting to places faster, thus allowing people to reach audiences much faster. Yet, the negatives of LA definitely don’t outweigh the positives!
Gene Ogami, Vivian Torres