Artisan Gallery Artist Interview - jessicatorrant

article by Furiousdreams
I know that you're a painter and that you've had a successful online shop for a few years. Can you fill us in on your background as an artist and tell us a little about yourself?

First let me say, hello Victoria, hello AGTeam and blog visitors! It's an honor to be participating in this interview with you and I'm a huge fan of your work.

Making art has always been in the cards for me and it was clear when I was just a young child. I studied painting at the University of New Hampshire and the University of California Santa Cruz (graduated in 1999) and I've been selling my work online since 2005.
It appears that most of your work is vividly colorful abstracts, some derived from the landscape, but you also have a highly geometric focus. What is the context of your work? Do you have any set ideologies as a painter (formalist, expressionist, etc)?

My only real goal with painting is to be true to myself and to be free to explore new directions and voices. These voices all vary, and you can see that reflected in my work, but I think they all come together and interact with one another in a way that makes sense to me.
Who are some of your influences, whether they're painters, sculptors, musicians, poets or 'none of the above'?

I love the Abstract Expressionist movement as well as the Fauvist painters. Some contemporary painters that I admire include team members Mary Ann Wakeley and Kendra Zvonik and you, Victoria. I also love Elis Cooke, Martha Marshall, Meghan Henley, Jean Hutter and Aisyah Ang - all of whom are also on Etsy. Truly I could go all day listing names, this is just a sampling.
Do you work spontaneously or is there a set time that you devote to the paintings on a daily/weekly basis?

I have mixed luck planning to paint. Most of the time it happens spontaneously and once it has begun it dominates my life and takes over for a four to five day long ongoing session. Then I come up for air, reconnect with the world and wait for the next cycle to begin.
How do you stay current, or is that important to you. Do you visit galleries and museums on a regular basis, or travel to view art and cultural events?

Because I'm in such a rural area and I tend to be a bit of a hermit/homebody, the internet is my primary portal into the world of current art. It's also the season. Once Spring comes, I'm more apt to hop on a train to NYC or drive up to Boston for a day in the city, appreciating art and culture. The end of winter is rather gloomy here in New England.
Some artists suggest that the studio is too private for them, that they require a social forum for their work. Does networking with other artists and developing community have much bearing on your life as an artist and if so, how does it inform your work and process?

I need to work in a private space. I have a studio in my backyard that I work in and it gives me such joy to be surrounded by the peace of nature. Connections to other artists, many of whom are online, keep me grounded and connected to a larger sense of community.
Exhibiting in galleries and museums - are you involved in showing your work in brick and mortar galleries?

I have in the past and would like to focus more attention on gallery exposure in the future. The last year or so I've slowed down with shows and focused more on my online business but I feel like that isn't enough for me anymore. I need to get more work out there in the flesh. 

Any long term goals for your painting or art?

I'd like to remain flexible and open to new ideas and techniques and keep challenging myself. I'd like to keep pushing the scale working on larger and more ambitious paintings. I'd like to return to the figure just to see what my take is on it now after working abstractly for the last ten years. I'd like to create a large scale series for a gallery exhibit and make that a reality. The most basic goal I have though, is to just keep painting for as long as I am able.
Anything else you'd like to add?
It's been a pleasure. Thank you Victoria and thank you to the Artisans Gallery Team!
Website - http://www.jessicatorrant.com


paula said...

i've enjoyed this interview tremendously. its nice to see such variance of work and find out more about you jessica.

Jessica Torrant said...

Many thanks to Victoria for giving me thought provoking questions and thank you Jill for including it on the blog! You can ready my long winded version of the interview on Victoria's blog (oh how I can go on and on...) at this link http://www.furiousdreams.com/blog/?p=6907

Two changes since the interview:

1. No more sad end of winter days, spring has sprung!

2. With it has come a renewed sense of energy and a drive to paint consistently. Instead of working in random bursts as I have for years, I've been trying to get into the studio and paint every single day. This has been a great challenge for me and I feel like it's been strengthening my work.

I have to say, the AG team came into my life at exactly the right moment. Though I've had my share of success online, I was starting to feel a little lost in a sea of other people working towards similar or the same goals. This team brought me together with like minded creators, connected me to Victoria (who I SO GREATLY admire and wish to follow in her footsteps - Italy anyone?) and made me feel like this effort of mine to produce gallery work was/is worth it, acknowledged and appreciated. I can't tell you what that has meant to me.

Keep up the great work everyone! We've got something really powerful and inspiring here... it feels like home. :)

Roz Inga said...

To Victoria, Jessica AND Paula...not only are you each inspirational talents, but you possess the kindest, most generous hearts ever. I usually shy away from sounding too saguine, but you all are an inspiration to me and I am so proud to be a part of such and outstanding group.

TheJoyofColor said...

Jessica it was very interesting, i think i coudl hear my self in some of the things you said.
I love your and Victorias work,
and its a great inspiration to me.
I would like also to have the descipline to create/paint each day, its a goal i set to myself but didn't realized fully yet.

Thank you and thanks to Paula and Jill

Its a great wonderful team

Jessica Torrant said...

Paula - you are an angel, thank you so much for all that you do!

Roz - You are so kind yourself! And your work makes me so happy. Someday I'd love to own an original!

Joy - Thank you and you know I'm a big fan of your work as well. :) Creating every day is one of those challenges that I realize I have to take with a grain of salt. Which is why I haven't joined in any of the official daily painter or 365 groups. Once the pressure is there, the inspiration flies out the window! I'm just holding onto the idea that I'd LIKE to paint every day. If I do, great! If I don't, it's ok, and no big deal. That's been the key for me to get this routine to stick.

Love to you all xo J

paula said...

well i for one am excited to read more about the people and how/what they do what they do.
and i'm loving the interactions here, so many good people sharing and working hard!

anakim said...

Thank you both for the interview.
I really enjoy knowing more about you and your creations.
Good luck!

humbleboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
humblebea said...

I really enjoyed learning more about you, Jessica!
Great interview, Victoria!

Victoria Webb said...

You are all so kind! Jessica was easy to interview, because her work is gorgeously vibrant, and it's obvious that she's serious about her art. But she also has a great sense of humor and sense of groundedness.

I second Jessica's wonderful comments about the Agteam. It was so good to get to know her too, I hope to see more of these 'partner' interviews from this highly talented group of artists.

Any time the team wants to hit Italy, count me in!

gretchenmist said...

great interview, thanks victoria and jessica. lovely to read about you both here. two fantastic painters i am happy to 'know'.

i also feel so lucky to be part of this team {thanks to jessica for the invite}. it has been lots of fun getting to know the group {slowly!}.


Kendra Zvonik said...

Awesome interview! Thanks for another glimpse into the life and art of my very good friend and fellow painter, the FABULOUS Jessica Torrant!

twolefthands said...

Great interview Jessica and Victoria. I admire your work am in awe of anyone who can paint!

WolfeWoman said...

The thing that I love best about your work is the journey through interior landscapes, and the strong use of color and geometry. I am fascinated that you live rurally and work with much solitude, as that is my world, too!


eastwitching said...

Very enjoyable art love the abstract work - inspirational and beautiful! Congrats - Alison