Artist Interview: Heather Torres

1.    What do you say when people ask you, 'What do you do?'
I wear many hats so I suppose it depends on the situation I’m in.  I am a watercolor an acrylic painter, teacher, Program Manger at Full Sail University, marketer, entrepreneur, wife and mother.  I take all of these jobs very seriously and love all aspects of my crazy life and what I “do.”
 2.    What new idea or innovation is having the most significant impact on how people think about art?
In my opinion, technology and the Internet has made the most significant impact on how people think about art today.  It gives the vast majority of people immediate access to art, all types of art.  Technology is used to make new art in a world where anything goes. 
 3.    What's something that most people just don't understand about your field?
I think most artists have a general understanding of the artistic process and the time and energy that goes into creating and marketing a piece of work, where non-artists find this tougher to grasp.  Some just see art as a hobby, however, in order for an artist to be successful, it takes more than talent and skill, it takes business savvy, persistence, and creativity.
 4.    What's something that continues to interest you about your work?
Exploration – I love trying new things. I’m still learning about the nuances of watercolor and how to control a medium that I thought at one time was nearly impossible to control.  I love trying new techniques and with consistent daily practice, I’ve acquired new skills that have helped me take my technique to the next level.
 5.    What's an emerging trend that you think will shake up the art world?
Mobile apps and gaming are trends that are shaping our world right now and developers need artists to help bring their visions to life.  The way we consume art has changed so much in recent years.  While we still have tangible art experiences, more and more is happening in a digital space and that trend will continue to grow in the future.
 6.    How did you get involved with art?
I’ve been interested in art as long as I can remember.  When I was 6 years old, I won my first art contest for a Bicycle Safety event at my school.  I realized I had some skill compared to other kids my age - I won a bike and after that I was hooked.  I put my artistic touch on everything I could.  I painted furniture, filled sketchbooks, and spent a lot of time making pottery and sculpture.  I ended up being awarded an art scholarship when I graduated from high school and pursued an art degree my first two years of college at the University of Central Florida.  I ended up getting a job working in marketing and promotions and switched my major to Marketing.  I took a 10-year detour from art but overtime; I found I couldn’t live without art in my life.  In recent years, I’ve studied painting and paint daily.  Now, I feel like I can’t live without my daily painting release.
 7.    Where do you derive your inspiration from?
My primary inspiration is nature.  I love the outdoors and natural wonders.  If you take a look at my work, it’s clear – the beach, plants, animals, and people are the primary subjects of my work.
8.    Please tell us about your training and how you transitioned to where you are today.
I have two and a half years of formal art training for the University of Central Florida.  I’ve also studied under accomplished Central Florida based watercolor master, Ken Austin, and internationally known and award-winning watercolor artist, Carol Carter.  I consider both of them to be wonderful mentors and an inspiration.  Over the years, I’ve built my skills and have been fortunate enough to be accepted in many juried shows, including the National Watercolor Society.  I’ve had solo exhibitions, won awards, been the poster artist for local art festivals, and have art in collections around the world.  I feel very fortunate to have found success doing something I love. 
9.    What is your state of mind when you are creating?
Painting is an escape for me.  I put on music and get lost in my work.  It’s easy to zone out and lose track of time.  I find it therapeutic.
10. Does your social and political climate impact your artistic expression?
Not really.  I’m more interested in getting lost in the natural world around me and try to avoid social and political views.  While I enjoy studying other works that make a statement, my work is focused more on the relationship between human and nature.
11. Are you thinking about the viewer’s psychology of experiencing your art when you create?
My goal is to transport the viewer into my state of mind.  I hope they find my work relaxing and soothing.
12. What emotion would you say plays the biggest role in your art?
I think love is the emotion that plays the biggest role in my art – a love of nature, space, and time; living in the moment and not taking life for granted.