‘black shirt’ by Paul Torres
Artist’s Recommending Artists: Chris Bonno recommends Paul Torres
When asked by TribeLA Magazine my input for artist’s recommending artists, Paul Torres was at the top of my list.
I met Paul Torres about ten years ago while at the downtown art district in search of a studio space for myself. At a collective called “The Hive,” I was shown a corner room on the second floor that was great but unfortunately, out of my price range. I left, but walked around the gallery on the street level where there happened to be a group art show. In a designated artist showcase area, Paul Torres was drawing, surrounded by a wall of his pieces of varying sizes, all depicting people in his unique colorful style. I spoke to him, tossed out a few compliments, and took in his work. To me, his style was reminiscent of Robert Williams, Robert Crumb, and the feel of the underground comics that I loved so much as a kid growing up in the ‘70s. It was clear that he was a studied artist who had been making great art for quite some time. His work shows a love of people, especially women. With his own style, he makes his ladies alluring while the shapes and forms that he uses to construct them, are the signature of his work. The women he painted were, on the surface, voluptuous but sinewy and alluring. Each had an admirable inner strength and independence. They were imbued with life, their own inner world, and a subtle confidence. Each with their own sense of style and essence.
His portraits have a sensuality to them and he clearly knows how to do a more traditional portrait (that can be stunning to observe) with excellent paint technique, volume, and creative use of color. Mostly, I see the creations, the people, the personalities, the vibe, the time he captures and the core or heart of his subjects. As a spectator, I am “let in” on how Torres’ cares for his work and his subjects. He creates an atmosphere while capturing the heart and attitude of the characters that we see around us but might not closely observe.
Many of Torres’ pieces looked like he had observed a crowd, chosen faces and bodies, he liked, and then composed scenarios of people walking, watching, and being “in their skin” with a focus on whomever he wanted to bring to the foreground. He also captured the fun, crowded, scenes of various street party scenarios. A few looked like Venice Beach while others resembled a character’s observation of a neighborhood.
I admired a drawing he was doing, I believe it was done with a couple of pens and pencils, while he was working on it in his area of the gallery. I loved it. He offered it to me for a more than reasonable price. A pittance, I thought. I couldn’t believe my luck. I didn’t have much, but he saw how taken I was by his work and he wanted to share. I SO loved the drawing and in it, the girl, central to the piece, was strong and hip while also being portrayed in a way that was tied in to Torres’ aesthetic.
Torres’ art is a familiar, yet unique visual whose code I’ve been making an effort to crack myself for my own characters and drawings. His work shows maturity, facility, a sense of humor, a love for people and their diverse individuality, and most of all, fun. I went to that gallery show, stumbled upon Torres and his work that had me mesmerized, and because of his kindness, his drawing is now a cherished piece in my art collection.
I love the work of Paul Torres and am grateful that TribeLA Magazine has chosen to give him his own week in the magazine. Everything I need from this artist is in the piece I’m lucky enough to have on my wall as well as his generous support of my own work and kind nature. He is an inspiration. Now, he can inspire you.
Contact Chris Bonno at:
View links below for published works by Paul Torres and discover what Chris Bonno means when he says that Paul’s work is imbued with life…