Gustavo Torres was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1967. He began sculpting at a very young age in Mexico, training with accomplished artists. Torres left Mexico after receiving his BFA to pursue a career in art in the United States.
Mainly influenced by Alberto Giacometti as well as the Nuns of Guadalajara ,Torres is both a talented visual artist and a master craftsman, whose visual imagery reflects the quiet, deep spirit of an ancient culture. His experiences while attending a private Catholic school as a child had great impact on his early art education, and religious symbols were his subjects during these formative years. Torres' style is both primitive and abstract and he looks to create a ''spiritual balance'' in his art. He strives to elevate the human spirit by using primitive and natural forms reminiscent of Mayan and Spanish cultures. Each of his sculptures has the texture of antiquity, and the rough finger work and the carefully chosen patinas convey a worn, earthy presence. Torres believes that ''art without spirituality is nothing.'' This statement demonstrates his reverence for life and serves as a tribute to the depth of his feelings regarding the mysteries of creation.
Torres describes himself as an old-fashioned sculptor as he uses centuries-old lost-wax casting methods to create bronzes that capture intimate gestures such as the sway of a woman's hips or a furtive glance. The power of his art is in its spontaneity, simplicity, and tranquility.
Torres is an award-winning artist and currently resides in Northern California. His extensive training includes his former position as Metal Supervisor for full phase production including patinas, molds making, wax and metal finishing at the Artworks Foundry in Berkeley. He attended both the University of Guadalajara and Monterey Peninsula College. His sculptures have been exhibited at the Carmel Arts Association and several prominent fine art galleries. He is a member of the Carmel Art Association and received a Gold Medal in national competition for a life-size bronze bust in Guadalajara.
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES Gold medal, Salon de Octubre, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1987 Museum of Latin American Artists, Long Beach, CA - Permanent Collection Vanderbilt University - The Divinity School - Permanent Collection
ARTICLE in Art and Antiques Magazine
By Ruth Pennington Paget
DESCRIPTION OF WORK
Gustavo Torres gives his bronze sculptures, which resemble those of antiquity, the breath of life by capturing gestures such as the sway of a woman's hips, a figure’s glance or a dog's upturned ear. The rough finish on his sculpture invites touch and contemplation. "My goal is to capture the spirit of the form," he says. "You do this by using the least amount of material possible. This is the most difficult—finding the essence. The rough texture allows the viewer to feel the sculpture and get a sense of its forms." According to Torres, the pointed, fused legs on his human figures "combine to one point in life." Stalactites that connect with the earth gave him the idea for this natural form. People have remarked that these fused legs are reminiscent of Alberto Giacometti's sculpture, but Torres is quick to point out that while most of Giacometti's sculptures were in motion, his figures remain directed toward the earth.
METHOD OF WORK
Torres describes himself as an old-fashioned bronze sculptor. Using the centuries-old lost-wax casting method and working by himself, Torres does everything from creating the molds, pouring the waxes and finishing them, to the metal finishing and patina. He views the patina as integral to his piece and looks to antiquity for inspiration in his colors; the earth tones enhance the beauty of the bronze. He is comfortable with all aspects of the process, because he chose to work in a foundry after college to learn the whole casting method. He describes this time as "the best experience in my life as an artist." The rough texture of his pieces makes his finishing work difficult, however. Once he casts a piece he must texture all areas of sprue contact (channels where gases are let out during casting), which permit the wax to be melted away and the bronze to enter the mold. "This is easy to do in smooth finished pieces, but hard to do in rough finished ones like mine," he explains. "After five years, I have finally found a method I like for finishing my work."
FIRST ARTISTIC INSPIRATION
Torres cites the Venus de Milo as his initial inspiration. "We had a reproduction in my home," he says. "I was fascinated by the human form."
Torres seeks to create an emotional response in everyone who views his sculpture. "People feel a passion for what I make," he says. "Some cry; others see antiquity—old souls." He also wants to create a special relationship with those who collect his works. "My joy is the pride I feel when a collector acquires a piece and responds to it. I also know that some part of my soul will be in the artwork when I die. My spirit will live through the art."
Torres says that having his works shown at galleries in Carmel and San Francisco is his biggest break.
FAVORITE SUBJECT MATTER
"My favorite subject matter is the human form, with my favorite piece being the torso that is showing right now," Torres says, referring to a torso with wide hips and large breasts reminiscent of the female statuettes called fertility goddesses that have been found around the Mediterranean for millennia. Torres says of his much-larger piece, "Fertilidad" that "the torso is earth-oriented. It represents the mother. I try to incorporate the five senses in all my works as well as the sixth sense—the spirit. Art without spirit is nothing."
MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON
At age 12 Torres became an apprentice to the sculptor Luis Larios in his hometown of Guadalajara and worked on commissions for religious and civic art. Larios worked in bronze, plaster, stone and wood, which gave Torres an all-around education. Torres notes that his family, who initially encouraged him to become an architect, eventually accepted that he wanted to be an artist after they saw his dedication.
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES
Gold medal, Salon de Octubre, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1987.