Welcome to my blog! Visit my Website at WWW.ARTBYTANYATORRES.COM to see the galleries organized by theme.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Did you see my fashion designs?

Here is my shop at VIDA, where you can see all the Spirit of the Forest fashions. 

Black Friday only: 40% off! 

Note: They take a long time to arrive, they may not get to you on time for Christmas. 
Also, I have samples to see and try. Come by if you are in NYC and visit








Monday, November 07, 2016

Grand Opening!



I have been busy these past weeks making a new space ready for a new project. I now have a studio-store at La Marqueta!

This project began with a group of "artisan squatters" at the site. In popular memory La Marqueta is the place where people used to go shopping for traditional Puerto Rican foods and other special items. In time, the market became smaller and smaller and almost disappeared. Politicians and concerned citizens have been trying to keep it alive all these years by reconstructing it, and bringing in new businesses. It now works as a sort of business incubator, but there are also long-time vendors selling the traditional foods of the Caribbean. My friend Mercedes, who knows the people in charge of making La Marqueta a lively place again, especially Melissa Mark-Viverito and the La Marqueta Retoña project, managed to "squat" on two spaces with other artisans. It became a more formal arrangement and now a corporation named Acacia pays for the 2 spaces and 4 artists are allowed to set up shop for free as a way of embellishing and improving the space. 

When one of the artisans left and another was evicted, Mercedes invited me to join the space. I suggested we invite my friend and partner in many projects Yarisa Colón, and we got to work. 

The space is now pretty and ready to open! I set up my tile painting studio there and spend most afternoons painting and meeting with people. Or decorating ;)

This Thursday, we are doing the "Grand Opening" together with Mercedes Molina, who is a doll maker, and Carmen Ayala, a painter, and you are invited if you are in NY! Come by and see the stores-studios!

La Marqueta
115 Street and Park Avenue
Thursday, November 10th, 2016
6-9 p.m.
Enjoy a wine and Cheese reception, Puerto Rican Appetizers by Maruka, and delicious cupcakes by Sprinkle Splash!

***Thanks to Melissa Mark-Viverito & La Marqueta Retoña for making this project possible.***



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I See Angels

I See Angels
 by Tanya Torres  
Oil on Canvas, 48” x 36”, 2016.

I am getting ready for a one day event and exhibition this Friday with a group I belong to called "7 mujeres en movimiento," or "Seven Women in Movement." The exhibition is titled My Art, My Spirit.  (Here is your invitation!)

I am bringing Mary Magdalene of the Bees, Emergence and this painting, titled I See Angels. This is the writing that will accompany the piece:

When  I was 23 I had a friend who believed in angels. She also believed in fairies and all the beings of a spiritual world I couldn’t see. I still can’t see or believe the way other people believe. Yet I have many times felt the bliss and the joy of being in communion with that invisible world that most people insist on describing with anthropomorphic images and concepts.

I See Angels is a painting about that abstract experience of joy and communion. An experience that is felt, and hopefully, not preached about ordescribed in words. It is personal and mystical. It is a work of the imagination. 

And Imagination is truly what I believe in. I believe in creating our own path, our own joy, our own image of the Divine. I believe in the energy that envelopes all that we see and feel, and I believe in the active participation and creation of the spiritual world by the Human mind. I believe in freedom, and in free will, and that color and the act of creation are a medium through which we can transmit our prayers to the Universe and to the hearts of other human beings.

I also believe that you should not believe what I believe. So this painting is really about whatever you see and feel and experience when you encounter it. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hoy, artista: Thoughts on Starting Your Career as an Artist

Camille Rivera, Melodie Roldán and Antonia L. Martínez Gavarrete, a group of talented art students at Universidad Interamericana of San Germán. Next to them, a young helper and Waldemar Mercado Ferreira, my "bff" since we were 8 years old, painting the mural in February 2016.

There are very few things that I enjoy more than helping other people realize their dreams...

New Jewelry

These are some new pieces I have added to my new jewelry collection.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sunflower Spirit

Sunflower Spirit by Tanya Torres, Oil on Canvas, 72" x 36", 2016.

I've been challenging myself to paint bigger, which is not easy for me! This painting is actually taller than me...

I call the paintings in this series Spirits of the Forest, although Emergencein my mind, is more a spirit of the water. But most of the paintings I have created in this style are full of leaves and earth, and now a giant sunflower.

Unexpected Connections

My friend Veronica de Nadie recently visited me after 10 years away from N.Y.C.  She is my beloved friend and poet from the times of Mixta Gallery. We connected through our kids, who met playing in the sandbox at Central Park. I wasn't there, but my mother in law, Doña Ramona, told her that she would like to meet me.

One day Veronica showed up at the gallery, and she asked if I needed help. I'm not sure I even knew her name at this point, but I told her yes, I would love some help, and to go upstairs to my apartment and bring down a chair or two. A regular person would have thought I was some crazy lady, which I probably was, but Veronica loved it, and that night she made her debut as a poet in the Spanish Poetry Night and it was the beginning of our friendship.

She had to leave back to Ecuador, and we didn't see each other for 10 years. But she finally visited this June, with her beautiful daughter Irina, all grown up like my son Julian, and we went down memory lane with our now college-student kids. We couldn't get over seeing them together, enlarged, so intensely beautiful. We visited the sandbox to memorialize and honor that grand moment in time when our babies brought us together (and took a picture of Irina and Julian in front of the sandbox!,) and spent several days being our old selves again.

She reminded me of so many feelings I had put away so as not to suffer her absence too greatly: it is not every day that you meet an extraordinary friend that is just right for you. She also reminded me that true love and true friendship have no time or space limits.

Veronica told me that she recently visited Cuba, and that there she encountered the Yoruba goddess Oshun, whose attribute flower is the sunflower.
"Oshun is a deity of the river and fresh water, luxury and pleasure, sexuality and fertility, and beauty and love.[1][2] She is connected to destiny and divination.[3]" From Wikipedia
I don't know a lot about Santeria or the African religions, but was glad that there is a connection to Oshun, whose color is yellow (a color that for me represents wisdom, as in the Magdalene color palette.) 

It is interesting to me that Oshun is a water goddess, a river goddess. I am from an island, but not really from the sea. My image of paradise includes this river:


This is the Salto Curet in Las Marías, and it holds up there at the top of the waterfall the scariest, most exciting moment of my life, when my friend Daisy and I decided to follow the lead of our local friends and climb the mountain to reach the top of the waterfall. We do things like that when we are 20 years old...

It looks small here, but we had to climb on roots and wet red earth, and then hug a slippery stone to cross to the other side. If things had not been successful, I would not be telling this story right now. Our friends happened to be exploring the Santeria religion at the time (and I never thought about that until writing this...) It may be that Oshun was with me after all...

I guess these are the connections that an artist makes in her mind and psyche by perceiving and absorbing all that is within and all that is around. 

Sunflower Spirit, as the other Spirits of the Forest, is the synthesis of an idea of Paradise that I carry within me. For my ancestors, the Taínos, the first beings we tree-like and had no sex. A bird (like a woodpecker) carved the sex of woman with its beak. They inhabited landscapes like the one about and their spirit remains and grows in the flora and the fauna, and even the imported species brought by history, invasions and the embrace of the outside world, including Oshun and all the Yoruba pantheon, and the beautiful sunflowers that make me so happy anytime I see them in the Mexican flower shops of my Barrio.

Monday, August 08, 2016

The Great History's Goddess

The Great History's Goddess by Tanya Torres, Oil on Canvas, 40" x 72", 2016.
When my son was little, he invented The Great History's Goddess. Since he had already declared himself an atheist, it was meant as a taunt to his mom and her spiritual inclinations. But I thought it was wonderful: A goddess who was a pure product of his young mind and that could mean anything we wanted her to mean! So at night, when he was anxious about the next day in school, we would say a prayer to The Great History's Goddess: "Tomorrow will be a great day! Tomorrow will be a great day! Tomorrow will be a great day!!!" (In order for this prayer to work, you must repeat it louder each time, until you are screaming.)

I soon began saying "Oh Great History's Goddess, help me!" (With a smile on my lips, of course!) My nephew Jean Carlos would say, "That's not a real goddess!" and I would say, "Of course she is, Julian invented her!"

Then, so many years later, I finished this painting, the largest I have painted on canvas to date, and in the beginning she was just a woman, but by the time I finished it, I had already begun work on a new series of paintings I call the Spirits of the Forest. And they are the spirits that dwell in the rainforest of my ancestral land.

And the great lady began taking on the roots and the veins of water that these beings possess, and her hair started flowing into a cascade of green. She became the mother of those spirits that dwell in my imagination.

Nowadays it is very hard to get a smile out of my wonderful teenage son, who continues to taunt me. But this painting did make him smile. He even said he liked it! I think he, by now, realizes that his mom is a very different kind of "believer". I believe in the imagination.

So the Great History's Goddess is real and magical, and here she is, big, bright, and full of life.

Available in my website store. 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Sacred Woman

Sacred Woman, Oil on Canvas, 10" x 8", 2016.
There are so many aspects to Mary Magdalene. Sacred Woman refers to the Magdalene who was turned into a prostitute and who reemerges in the imagination as the embodiment of holiness, including the sexual aspect. This is one of the new pieces exhibited on July 22 at the Mary Magdalene Celebration. Listed in my website store.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

The Magdalene Fair

I was afraid I didn't have any images of the wonderful creations that my guest creators displayed at the Magdalene Fair of the Mary Magdalene Celebration, but fortunately, my young friend Taína del Mar was in charge of broadcasting through Periscope and she made several videos of the Celebration. Here is the one that showcases all the participants in the fair. To see them all, find us as @magdalene_org in Periscope and Twitter!

Here are some images of the Magdalene Fair at the Mary Magdalene Celebration:


Friday, July 29, 2016

Dancing with Mary Magdalene

video

The Mary Magdalene Celebration culminated in a dance by all the guests who felt inspired to dance! This video by Melissa Coss Aquino shows the beauty and energy of this special moment.

There were so many reasons for organizing the Mary Magdalene Celebration. This post would be too long if I were to mention them. The main reason was that Raquel Z. Rivera and I have been doing this event in different forms for about 10 years now, and I felt inspired to share this passion of ours one more time, one bigger time.

I was also feeling what other people who offer a promesa feel: the need for change, the gratitude for graces received, the inspiration for creating something beautiful. It took a year and help from many friends to conceive it, create all that it encompassed, and put all the pieces together.

One of my main goals was to work with other people. I had almost forgotten how pleasurable it is to share a big moment with other creative souls. And now I remember clearly, because as the day approached, the guests arrived, and the event came together, the flowing movement during the last 3 hours of preparation became proof that it is possible to experience harmony at a time that has the greatest potential for caos. A small army of friends came to help at 3:00 p.m., and by 5:00 p.m. we were done with the art exhibition, the food, the tables and most of the preparations. The doors were to open at 6:00 p.m. and we were ready early!

I had decided that it would not be perfect, but it would be beautiful. That was the goal and we accomplished it. The space was transformed with art, song, crafts, paper flowers and lots of dance.

The performances began with something I was wishing for but was afraid to announce since I was not sure if it would happen. I had invited a group of women from the now closed Holy Rosary Church in my neighborhood, beloved people who always transported me back to my childhood when I heard them sing. They are not a choir or anything like that. They are the older women of the church, whom I met around 2010, and who gave me so much love I can't even describe it. I asked one of them, Sara, if she would bring a few of the others to sing a song to Mary. It didn't matter to me which Mary. Because it all has to start somewhere. It was beautiful because they sang their hymn in Spanish, and soon everyone was singing with them, because most people there knew the song. "Ven con nosotros a caminar, Santa María ven..." Come walk with us, Saint Mary, come walk with us. It was a perfect, beautiful beginning for our promesa.

The performances followed, framed by 3 different kinds of dance: a meditation dance by Corazón Tierra, a dance-theater piece by Xiomara Evans and Marni Rice, and Bomba dance by Alexandra Vasallo.


video
Video by Jorge Latorre

Raquel Z. Rivera and Ojos de Sofía sang the seven songs, I lighted the candles at the altar, and finally, Alexandra came in to dance. I don't know how old she is, just that she has been dancing all her life.

video
Video by Ana Alicea


 During the last song, I called all the dancers to the center and they danced some more.

video
Video by Jorge Latorre


And then, women danced in a circle, and then everybody danced.

video
Video by Olga Ayala

We danced with Mary Magdalene. And the joy was so great that all who were present went home a little bit different than when they arrived.

(Photos coming soon in the next post.)