Archives for posts with tag: The Self

When I first started this blog, I specifically wanted to write about my journey through the art market, offering insight into the state of affairs and how to navigate through what is truly a complicated and oftentimes bewildering industry, where the cream doesn’t necessarily rise to the top. Though, I’ll readily admit that my endeavor to expound on such a topic was not only ambitious, but also overly optimistic, considering how little experience I had in navigating any market on my own, then. And even now, almost six years later, I am still only beginning to make sense of how I fit into that puzzle and how I want to maneuver through it.

So, perhaps more important than my perspective (having officially changed the title of this blog from “Through My Eyes” to “Rapt”), is the fact that I simply Love what I do. It’s the only reason why I’m still in the game and still riding this crazy roller-coaster of a life; because there is nothing easy or glamorous about the hard fight, especially when so many victories are won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile (for any normal person).

That’s not to say that my efforts are wasted, but that the ultimate reward is an elusive one that only a few will ever truly secure. Many are called, it seems. But only a few are chosen. So, in this business, if your heart and mind aren’t perfectly aligned and ready to brush off disappointment (for the sake of pursuing your passion), don’t quit your day job. Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life… and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Mine was always a Labor of Love, since childhood. And I’ve never compromised my vision for the sake of accolades or the easy paycheck. That might make my job a little more difficult at times. But it also makes each new triumph, along the way, much more fulfilling.

I remember my dad telling me, even before I decided to embark on my creative journey, “Always do your work as if you’re going to sign it.” And, although that might sound like the voice of perfectionism to some, it resonated with me, despite only now fully comprehending the significance of that statement, as someone living the life of an artist. Doing my work as if I’m going to sign it has not only held me accountable for my own shortcomings, without deflecting blame elsewhere, but it also creates the opportunity for all my actions to fully express who I am (beyond mere words). I don’t want to tell someone that I am this or that, or some variation. I want them to know it by the way I conduct myself, every day.

So, I still ultimately hope to chart a useful path for other artists to adopt and modify as a loose guide. But, until that accomplishment is capable of speaking for itself, there is no reason for me to assume the role of the teacher. I will continue to report on any advancements in my position (up the ladder, of course). But I’ve decided to slightly shift the direction of this blog, to simply share the enjoyment of the journey with you, and to find better ways of helping you stay inspired on yours as well. So, as of today, this blog is no longer a window into the market, “Through My Eyes”, but an expression of what I am: “Rapt”, and Ready to continue my work.


In silence and solitude, where our conversation with the universe takes place, I lose myself, hoping to return with more than what I carried into that vastness, more than the substance I encompass and its portrayal, which is projected into the aether until a mutual exchange blends consciousness with the mysteries of existence in a single breath, inhaled and exhaled, and carried in a vibration, where I am both a part of and severed from the tangle of life and it’s myriad impression… always a memory (with each passing second), a memory that is integrated within the Self who is also consumed and discarded before the next draw of breath. And in that flow, both giving and receiving, everything that is conceivable, and its antithesis, are unified, though each expression becomes a different interpretation of the same encounter, a different point of view that is not in opposition, but in perfect harmony within the same focused confusion that created the world and all of its compliments and contradictions.


Having spent the last two and a half months entrenched in administrative work, behind the scenes, I finally feel like I can come up for air again, to breathe, and to escape the unshakable machine of my resolve, which never sleeps.

Consciousness is a battle field. It is an everyday confrontation of abstract forces at work, each fighting to command space and time within the Self. And when the mind and spirit are fully engaged and unified in their efforts, they are relentless in achieving their objectives, furiously striving to conquer a perpetual new set of conditions that challenge each new goal.

Thankfully (for me), I no longer consult my conscience for permission to carve out creative time. I have fostered my expressiveness long enough that it is indelibly linked to all activity born in me. After all, the story expressed in the image is the heart and soul of my endeavor, regardless of obstacles or barriers that require breaching. And the encounter itself, which can be defined by any number of circumstances, is a human experience… not just my own.


The winds of change have begun to blow, moving through and around me in such a way that expresses who You are, You who are discernible and always present like the deep seeded vibration that awakens and animates one’s dreams, the quiet though resonant Om discovered in sustained meditation, the Vitality that must be recovered from misconception (each in our own tongues) so that You may be planted, nurtured, and harvested as Fruit. We have walked together, side  by side, for so long that I have not known a Life without You. Therefore… amid this change, amid the metamorphosis of my consciousness and the transformation of Life as I know It, I seek to discover You completely and in every capacity (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and in all periphery) so that we may (together) express the beauty of our union, the Poetry of that Promise which belongs to everyone!

~ Feeling Lifted

In the cozy quietude of my studio, I am often reminded of how fine the line is between lost and found. Although every day is a menagerie of moving parts, to immerse one’s self in the expression of who we are, we must sometimes cross over into anonymity, where we risk “forgetting” where the story begins or ends, and how it should unfold. I was reminded of this the last several weeks, as I immersed myself in the idea of integration and all that that implies, which then reminded me of something I wrote and wanted to share.

So, from my quiet corner of the world…

Blog Images

My Headquarters

The Island

I live on an island in the middle of the city. The island is my home… from where I expand my reach and vision with a solid foothold, among, but also apart from the community, the ocean whose surface I only skim, for fear of losing myself in its depths and wonder.

I am not afraid of drowning. Because, to pursue the fire is to also court death, who is always present alongside the living. But what I fear is forgetting, who I am, amidst the flow of those who never lost or gained, or never braved knowing how fire and water are truly the same.

I live on an island, at the center of myself. The island is my home… from where I exceed what is expected of me, and with a solid grasp of what that means, among, but apart from the rest of me, who belongs to the ocean.

I am not afraid of silence. Because, to seek the Self is to find yourself alone, though each of us belongs to the other, outside the body, in the way we experience and express one another. What I fear is forgetting, that the rest of the world exists, with or without me, and that it would never miss what I failed to give, for all the quiet time I spend within.

I am an island, among many islands. But this one is my home… from where I can escape, or seek refuge, whenever I choose.

I am an artist. And like many artists, my life remains in a constant state of flux, always transitioning from one iteration of myself to another in a meditative state that is expressed in my work. It is how I encounter this lifetime, though I could never explain what that encounter means. How could I, when Life (in general) is transient and variably perceived, always corresponding to even the most passive of interpretations as part of a shared human experience? So, as I begin to rummage through the wreckage of a scarcely-remembered past, attempting to excavate a story… My Story… I’ll readily admit that I haven’t the slightest clue where to begin (except perhaps, at my opening statement).

What I have discovered so far is that the resourcefulness I’ve enjoyed as an artist can be easily modified and incorporated into other (more neglected) areas of my personal and business life to create a complete picture (of past, present, and future). It is a strength I can build on in The Now, as long as I am actively versatile instead of purely reactive, and I am optimistic that the pieces of this  “Who is Michael Torres?” puzzle will soon fit together.

Until now, I hadn’t truly engaged in Conquering the Course (pursuing my art as a career) but have only played the game, perhaps because I’ve always just enjoyed the journey. So despite the determined will that propels me forward, I have really only trusted my instincts to pave my path, to provide opportunity, expecting that a foundation for the changes undergone await me on the other side while knowing full-well that nothing in life is guaranteed. And my instincts have served me well. But I now realize that a passive flexibility doesn’t necessarily equate to “progress” in an evolutionary sense. Adaptability alone is not enough, because the ability to adapt is only an instrument if not directed, but not the work itself, which is a more determined and purposefully coordinated commitment toward “Becoming” (whether becoming something more, or simply becoming one’s Self more clearly).

I regularly immerse myself in research and development as a way of honing and expanding my intellectual tools. But I am also inspired by the success stories of others. And I also appreciate self-help books that effectively provide benchmarks for measuring my own progress. I think it’s simply foolish to believe that any one us has all the answers. Therefore, I actively participate in the shaping of my own life, and although I may be a dreamer, seen by some as naive or unambitious (as the stigma of the artist goes)… I am living proof of that dream, not as an idea, but as a “work in progress” that speaks for itself with each new accomplishment. And I finally understand what that means (applicably) because of The Start-up of You, written by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha.

The Start-up of You is an insightful and practical book that is filled with navigational advice, intended to inspire and guide the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us. Though the central concept alone is compelling enough to provide a birds-eye view of the landscape that is your life (your current position, your pursuit, and your destination). It’s about achieving “Permanent Beta,” which means, “to always be starting, and to forever be a work in progress” as a way of navigating through an ever changing world. It’s about recognizing and defining an already existing Self while simultaneously discovering your genuine interests, as compliments, that are capable of coexisting in a persistent stage of development (as progress/evolution requires of everyone). That means, not only pursuing what you love, but also, recognizing and building on existing “Assets”, weighing them against your “Aspirations” and core “Values”, and finally, determining the “Market Reality” (what is possible) of your ambitions.

Want more insight? Check it out:

Although I am always learning, I’ll readily admit that I am not always actively utilizing that new-found knowledge. Though I certainly should. “Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more…” and in a state of Permanent Beta we allow ourselves to acknowledge that there is room for improvement. “It’s a mind-set that is brimming with optimism, because it celebrates the fact that we” actually “posses the power to improve.”

“Success is fragile.” But, with active participation and a willingness to rediscover yourself everyday, you can confidently count on a fruitful tomorrow, as the result of an attentive today. Even though “your aspirations shape what you do… your aspirations are themselves shaped by your actions and experiences. You remake yourself as you grow and as the world changes. Your identity doesn’t get found. It Emerges.”

That is my mission, both creatively and spiritually. And that is the mission of this blog – to finally Emerge from the depths of obscurity. It won’t always be lollipops and roses. But, oh! What a beautiful and exciting journey!

~ ’til next time!

January was a ghost in my calendar, a window through which I retreated into reverie and remained steeped in meditation for most of the month, reflecting on the clumsiness of 2015, all the improvised steps and leaps of faith that somehow helped me re-establish a foothold, allowing me to see and chart a course through the new year. Most of my journey has been a baptism by fire, because Life never ceases. But neither does the instinct that drives me, even if at times they both seem obscured and unattainable (as if Life and Inspiration were destinations).

There is a natural ebb and flow in everything I suppose, a necessary push/pull that means to teach us that our highs and lows are complimentary movements rather than opposing forces. Last year was filled with those emotional peaks and valleys, a broad spectrum of triumphs and failures that each added substance to what would otherwise seem like an unfounded fantasy. But the most profound of those impressions turned out to be 2 conversations that led to questions that set my mind in motion to find answers.

I was asked by a client, “Where does your work come from?” (its roots, the motivation, and purpose). She explained that the imagery didn’t deal with conventional Hispanic themes, which are infused with tradition, culture, and heritage. But she also expressed that I didn’t quite fit the American model either, and instead seemed more closely aligned with European sensibilities, which honor the tradition of painting.

And if that wasn’t enough to get my gears turning, my dad randomly called one day to share an epiphany that prompted the question, Who am I? He said, “I know why you can’t sell your work (referring to more substantial pieces). It’s because you don’t know your own story.” And after a moment of silence… I realized that he was right. I don’t know my own story. And worse yet, I’m not even certain that I’m the best person to judge what that story is, because I am so closely tied to the event of my own Life, immersed in it, moment to moment.

So, what is my story? Who is Michael Torres? That is the question I must find the answer to. And that is my mission for this year… to discover that narrative and share it with you, because, as the central character in all my work, it is perhaps the most vital piece of the selling puzzle: To Know Your Product

Ironically, I touched on this subject previously without FULLY comprehending what was meant (though I was on the right track of who and what). I just hadn’t dug deep enough for the information to be useful, because Art truly is an abstract concept to adopt as a business. But the principles themselves are sound, remain relevant, and are truly adaptable in any business model, including that of Fine Art. 1. Know the Product 2. Never Bullshit 3. Make it Personal 4. And always Offer the Best Deal Possible. Read: The Crash Course Begins

’til next time…

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