Archives for posts with tag: Art

I woke up on the floor this morning and, while staring at the ceiling, realized…

“D@mn! I’m still here!”

For more than half my life now, officially, I have slept on the floor, sacrificing basic creature comforts, like a bed and chairs, for the sake of my art; to preserve necessary space in which to meditate and work. I sometimes only feel like the hint of a person. And, the reality is… that may never change.

I moved to Austin (TX) with only my clothes, my music, and a stockpile of art supplies. And by March of this year, 2018, I was supposed to be more comfortably situated, within the market, so that I could finally upgrade my living situation, to include an actual life. But, alas… very little seems to work out as planned. And, as I’ve just renewed my lease once more, I can’t help but feel as if I’m back at square one again, despite having made significant strides in learning the business and creating new work. I just forgot to adapt along the way, assuming that whatever previous success I enjoyed would always be.

Fortunately for me, I have to count my blessings as well, and give credit where credit is due, because I have an amazing supporting cast that has kept me fed, inspired and in the game (as I continue to evaluate and improve upon my position). Otherwise, I’d either be on a monster fast (competing for the world’s hungriest artist) or headed home to mom and dad with a ready plate and a larger belt.

So, don’t worry. I could easily justify feeling disheartened or defeated. But, I’m not. Sure, I’ve been punched in the guts. And, d@mn, that hurts! But, that also just pisses me off. And the next round will be mine! You’ll see.

~ to be continued

P.S. Wanna experience the complete flashback? Check out my very first entry, from 2012, here: The Entrance Door

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As a professional, in any line of work, the process of re-discovery is continuous. Because there is always something new to learn. And learning means evolving.

I for one have never been satisfied with knowing “just enough” to get by, but instead strive to be all I can, and then some. It’s what keeps me steady in the face of adversity. Because I know I’ve never taken the easy way out. In fact, I fail often… because I dare to confront my uncertainties head-on. And those failures, in return, then provide the tools I need to meet the next challenge.

But it’s not just the lessons we learn that are important. I love learning because it helps me to re-discover the beauty in what I do, forcing me to see the work (once again) through fresh and curious eyes. And this moment is no different, as I immerse myself in the painted landscape.

Landscapes have occupied many a background in my work, and have oftentimes been utilized to express characteristics about my subject. But I haven’t explored the landscape enough on its own to truly say I understand the technique. So as I endeavor to fully incorporate the landscape in my repertoire, here I am again… falling in love with the process of converting raw material into something beautiful.

Check it out: Using a single palette knife, some pretty rugged brushes, painting medium, Gamsol (which is an odorless paint thinner) and few squirts of paint…

Tools and Raw Materials

Tools and Raw Material

The magic begins when all of this mess…

My Palette

Sections of the single palette used to create “Quiet Reflection”

Begins to merge and take shape on the canvas.

Stage-01

A simple sky and outline of the foreground added over a solid wash

Stage-02

Working dark to light, from the background forward

Quiet Reflection: On the easel

On the easel, as I begin to tackle the foreground

Until, at last… the work is complete.

Quiet-Reflection-Eq

“Quiet Reflection” © 2017, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

This was the second of ten practice pieces that I’ve challenged myself to create before Christmas. So, stay tuned! ~ There are plenty more to come!!

The Automatic Process is just one of many methods of creating a painting (or any work of art). But it’s the method I most commonly prefer, primarily because it allows the artist to tap into his/her subconsciousness, oftentimes with surprising results, as artwork that isn’t planned so much as it just happens.

Insatiable

“Insatiable” © 2013, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

Although I also work from fully visualized concepts that are sketched out and systematically executed, my opinion is that The Automatic Process (with practice) can be more genuinely expressive and revealing; not entirely explicit of the artist’s presumed comprehension of the subject, which can be unavoidably subjective, but of the artist’s unacknowledged (or unrealized) aversions, preferences, and innate tendencies toward that subject, which perhaps arrive at a closer proximity to objectivity (without the filters of subjective reasoning). It is a technique that liberates what is normally suppressed by our conditioning (through nature and/or nurture) and animates what I deliberately refer to as Sub-consciousness, rather than The Unconscious, because to actively utilize the unconscious mind’s wealth is to awaken its potential.

For some, it might seem ridiculous to think that such a source can be harvested. However, just like learning a new language, a new skill, or improving one’s memory, tapping into one’s subconsciousness is an acquired ability that can be harnessed through practice, a function that isn’t quite as abstract as one might think. In fact, The Automatic Process is more accurately about allowing one’s self to be vulnerable, admitting (to ourselves, at very least) that we don’t always know why we feel certain ways. It’s about letting go of our imaginary controls, to make room for revelation. And it’s about purposefully encountering our innermost (which is indelible and vast); a frightening proposition, I know, but a journey well worth endeavoring.

Catalog: 1992 - Mar, 2011

“Undertow” © 2013, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

From Freud to Breton, to Your’s Truly:

To shed more light on the subject, I was first introduced to the idea of Psychic Automatism when exploring the roots of the surrealist movement and was immediately intrigued by the suggestion that the limits of active consciousness could be expanded and employed. It was a claim originally proposed by Sigmund Freud, whose psychoanalytic discoveries gave substance to André Breton’s First Surrealist Manifesto, officially establishing Surrealism as an intellectual practice. (read The First Surrealist Manifesto, by André Breton, here: Surrealist Manifesto)

However, because there is no fixed single method of approach, the process of Automatism can vary drastically, influenced by any number of factors (such as personality, emotional state, space and time). And yet, for the most part, I’ve remained faithful to the surrealist’s original manner, adopting what is called Automatic Painting. Though, what is generally considered random and accidental mark making, I now refer to as intuitive composition, simply because of the progression I have witnessed in my own work, which evolved from pure abstract expressionism to diverse representations of abstraction, expressionism, and surrealism.

Here are a few examples of work created with The Automatic Process that exhibit a natural evolution, as I become more and more comfortable with this form of expression. Though the process itself remains necessarily flexible.

Puncture Wound

“Puncture Wound” © 2012, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

A Violent Departure

“A Violent Departure” © 2013, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

Achieving Symmetry

“Achieving Symmetry” © 2014, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

Meditation-Eq

“Out of Bounds” © 2017, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

My Process:

As previously mentioned, my work isn’t always created in an automatic style. I still honor the tradition of painting when approaching classical subjects, such as landscapes and the body. But when I’m feeling inspired and uninhibited, I usually begin with a single color (if driven by raw emotion) or a simple sketch (when working from a concept that is intended to evolve) and allow instinct and intuition to guide each step along the way.

The key, once the work commences, is to remain immersed in the process, which requires me to “receive” rather than to dictate, seeking internal guidance without surrendering to the temptation to “edit”. And only when the subject has developed enough to contain substance and to speak for itself do I attempt aiding in the work’s aesthetic movement, by refining composition. The process’s real promise, after all, lies in discovery; not for vainglorious purposes, but for the emotional connections established by the image’s own individual presence and for its meaning, which is created and shared through discourse (between the work, the artist, the audience, and that mysterious source within each of us that never sleeps).

Follow me on Instagram: @whoismichaeltorres, and on Facebook: @ Who is Michael Torres

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Silent Scream

When a creative dry-spell becomes a drought, I sometimes have to reach beyond the image to recover the fire. I sometimes have to delve into the clutter of a collective creative consciousness, into the minds of artists who inspire me, to find a flicker of my own creative light.

There, in uninhabited space, outside the boundaries of our supposed 10%, we are all relatives. And, as I navigate through clusters of coruscated thought, which appear like stars within a galaxy, it is often the whisper of a word, printed on quiet paper, that resonates. It is often a whisper… that rekindles the flame.

I hear you… You, whom I would also call myself. And I am moved.

ContinuumSometimes… I get lost in the tangle. I get lost in the confusion of space and time, which carries me through the quietude, an encompassing silence that shares its mass and weight with me until I am no longer discernible from the vastness I’m attempting to fill; not to substantiate it, but to mitigate my own burden, which is comprised entirely of gravity, evidence of the stillness that flourishes at the center of everything.

From the surface, the pattern may appear only to perpetuate the repetitions. But the extremes of that structure have become so abundant and so intricately woven that the accumulation now seems like ornament, from a distance, like a dense cluster of meticulously carved impressions that were purposefully arranged within the enormity, which has no rhyme or reason on its own or within the immediate. Though, we may find ourselves at any time within that same instance.

One of my current projects has become a technical experiment that has awakened the nerd in me. (Oh, yeah!) After showing “Symphony No.01”  for the first time, engaging in numerous conversations about “what it would sound like”, I decided to take the next step in developing the idea and am now converting this abstract piece into a Digital Soundscape, an audible version that will later be used as a second reference for mapping out an actual instrumental composition.

A recent breakthrough came about when I discovered that the software I’ve elected to use (which will be revealed along with the recording at a later date) is designed to read white patterns during the scanning process. That realization took me back to my days as a photographer and using colored filters to create black and white images. But before any scanning could be done, the image first had to reconfigured into a “scan ready” version… and that too has been a process.

Because the original painting was created as four (stacked) movements (as it appears here)…

facebook album

“Symphony No.01”

The image had to be converted into a single linear piece, comprised of all four movements in succession, side by side (shown here).

Symphony_Strip1_Eq

Then, by converting the image into Grayscale, I was able to isolate individual colors (using simulated filters in Photoshop) which allowed me to create 7 variations of the same piece (shown below), in two Color Spectrums: RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). But even after the conversion to grayscale was complete, I also had to invert black and white in each image so that the software would actually scan the painted portions of the piece instead of the background (because it only reads and interprets white).

The final example below is a loose rendition of this process, using a small section of “Symphony No.01”. It shows what the 8 components look like (the inverted b&w images, in both color spectrums, plus the original full-color version) before sound is created. Each individual layer, in the next phase, will be assigned different tones and recorded separately on different tracks before being combined into a single symphonic composition/recording.

Sample

To be continued…

~ Stay tuned, for updates!

After a productive month that was spent building a foundation to enhance my Social Media engagement, it’s time to get back to the creative side of my work. It’s time to welcome Spring, and new life, a cycle that never ceases. Though the business may be my structure, Art is still the substance, and that too will never cease.

Blog Images

Canvas Panels

I’ve challenged myself to produce at least 10 – 12 Plein-air pieces this year, along with creating a series of Block Prints and Monotypes, because I love the idea that Art belongs to everyone. But equally important, I’ve also discovered that it truly is the little things that matter, meaning, that it’s the smaller pieces that sustain my business, while the more substantial works help it grow. So as an integral part of Building a career around my skill-set as an Artist, I’ve made it my personal mission to always provide artwork that is affordable on any budget, while still expanding my own creative language, and this simply seemed like a fun and elegant solution, which I look forward to sharing as it progresses.

Blog Images

Print Making Supplies

~ Stay tuned!

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