What I’ve Been Up to Lately… by Boris Torres


"Near the Pool," 2013, watercolor and magic marker on paper, 9 x 12 inches

What I’ve been doing lately is going through vintage male photography and I look for composition, lighting, beauty, sexiness. It’s really more about formal stuff, the quality of the photograph, whether the image is interesting, or the person in it is interesting.  Sometimes it can be an expression. I can imagine how they are in their everyday lives, whether they are funny or sad or doing it for the money. Whether they are smart or naïve. With the paintings made from online “self” photographs, from hook-up sites, I’m curious about how these men see themselves, how they pose, what they think of themselves. It’s the opposite of the vintage photographs. It’s their gaze, not a photographer’s. They are selling their own images. Are they too skinny, are they on drugs, are they promiscuous? I judge and admire at the same time. Sometimes I wonder if I could expose myself that way. I find them courageous that they are putting themselves out there to be judged. In a way, they are doing the same thing I am as an artist.

"Paper Doll," 2013, watercolor on paper, 18x24 inches

"Marionette," 2013, ink on paper, 18 x 24 inches

I think about color a lot.  I love value, dark to light and drama. Where the sun hits, where the darkest shadow is.  Something cinematic.  I always look for images that have a lot of contrast.  It creates a certain three-dimensional drama. I look for that in color too. I love bright colors.  It comes from my culture, from Ecuador, from Latin America. The landscape is very colorful, rich jungle greens, and bright fruits and vegetables and flowers. Even the birds are extremely colorful. I think that’s why I like color so much in painting.

I was having sex with my school friends since I was in second grade. I was also sexually molested when I was six or seven.  So, I’ve had a lot of different sexual experiences. I was always very excited by it, and ashamed.  Because I had been molested, it was confusing, and on top of that I was having gay feelings.  The layers were complicated.  Since then, I was drawing images trying to understand the male body, re-creating these scenarios. It’s almost like re-living it, through my experiences.

I’ve always been very open in my own experience, so that means I’m very open in form. I always like to explore new stuff, and that’s true both about the subject, as well as the medium.  I like to work quickly because there is a satisfaction and reward, almost like in sex. You get off, and then you are looking for the next thing. I like exploring with different materials because I can get bored sometimes.  There are times when I spend a longer period of time on something, but I don’t work on anything for months. There are so many things I find exciting that I want to keep up with.


"Pink and Green," 2013, magic marker on paper, 9 x 12 inches