An Interview with Melissa Torres - Artists of Texas

How old were you when you realized you were an “artist”?

In highschool. Junior year. My art teacher told me I had a talent she hadn’t seen in the other students and encouraged me to pursue art in college. However, I was a young mother and my mother did not feel it would be a stable means to support myself and a child.

Who or what inspired you as you to make art in the beginning?

Being an only child, I had to find ways to entertain myself. I spent hours coloring, drawing, painting. I never showed anyone my art however. I kept it either in the closet or under the bed.

What is your background in art?

I am primarily self-taught. I took a few classes in high school and Nursing school. I began taking an acrylic class in March 2011 through the Community Adult Education Center in San Antonio.

What role do you feel an artist has in society?

I feel artists have the ability to inspire, evoke emotion whether it be positive or negative, bring attention to causes in society, and to help people escape their reality. I feel the most important role is to stimulate people to think.

Do you have a vision or a reason for the art you create? 

I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a vision since I paint pretty much whatever inspires me which can be anything from nature to people. I just aim to create pleasant art, art that is appealing, and invoke emotion. If I create a landscape for example, I want those looking at it to feel drawn in to the painting, as if they can envision themselves there.

What part of you do you see in your artwork?

I have been told that people see my passion for art in my paintings. That they can see the compassion I have when I paint a lost pet or loved one.

How do you know when your art if complete or finished?

I have told myself once I sign it, it;s done. No more reworking it. I will usually ask another person’s opinion also, or come back and look at it in a day or too. Fresh eyes make all the difference in the world.

Today, who has had the greatest influence on your work?

No one in particular but I do love the work of Georgia O’Keefe.

Name three artists you would like to be compared to. No one, I think comparison leads to discouragement for the artist and art is as unique as the each individual.

What is your artistic medium of choice? Why?

Acrylic. It is the one I am most comfortable with.

Whose work do you relate to most? Who inspire you?

I wouldn’t say I relate to anyone’s art the most. I am inspired by too many artists to name.

What food, drink or song inspires you or gets your creative juices flowing?

I usually listen to rock music while I paint, but usually the painting influences the type of music I listen to. I also like to have a glass of wine while I paint. I find I don’t stress as much when I have just one glass.

Has your art evolved or changed in the past ten years? If so, how?

I think so. My detail has gotten better, when I paint a person, they look more like the actual subject, I have learned more techniques.

What are your strengths and weakness?

Do you find the artistic Life lonely? How do you counteract the solitude? 

I work as a nurse and am surrounded by people daily. I love the solitude of artistic life.

If you could picture yourself 5 or 10 years from now, where would you be and what would you be doing?

Having my art in more homes. I think that is the best compliment.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to an artist just getting started?

    NEVER compare yourself to others, read, learn, learn some more, never give up.

     Getting to know you Q&A

     How long have you lived in Texas? Moved here in 1997 from New York

     Where in Texas do you live now? San Antonio

     What is your favorite restaurant in Texas?

     What color is your bedroom? White........the original color it was when built. I need to paint it!

What book are you reading this week? The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw.

What are you most proud of in your life? Graduating from Nursing school despite people having doubts because I became a mom at 17 yrs of age.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist? Registered Nurse, Secretary

Do you have a passion or hobby other than painting? What is it? Music, Running

If you could live anywhere in Texas, where would you live? Fredericksburg

Share something with us that few people know about you. I have trouble sleeping

Name something you love and why. Music. In addition to painting, it is the only way I escape without leaving home.

Describe yourself in one word. Self-conscious

What is the one thing you would like to be remembered for?  Kindness to others