Maritza Torres is a visual artist based in Los Angeles. Carlos V is a fan of her work and she was kind enough to do an interview with us.
• CV: What are the major themes of your work?
MT: Over and over in the news and even in my life, I see the vortex of shit that people are facing. Often I have wanted to create work that speaks on the Black Lives Matter movement, the current state of immigration or the state of the environment. But when I get down to it there is soooo much to be said about so many things; it’s impossible to pick one over the other. So my conclusion always is: Tell your own story, this is what you know to be true and how you feel, start there because everything is related. Growing up I felt out of place and looked down on because of my minority status. If my parents had not shown me the beauty of our culture and how deep our roots go, I would have probably bought into what the media and society told me about myself. Because of that my work focuses on what I want to/ need to see more of the empowered/enlightened women. This is what I longed to see as a child and crave as an adult. My current work however has been very sad. On April 4th, 2016 my father died of cancer and my work has been influenced by it. My new pieces explore these emotions and feel more personal. So I see that my work will always change and reflect my own emotions.
CV: What is your ultimate goal in doing art?
MT: I vacillate between wanting to have fun and be light hearted and being heard as a WOC and helping change the world. So honestly, Ultimate goal would be doing huge fun sustainable/inclusive/dance/installation art shows and traveling the world with my husband and my pets. Lol
CV: What are you opinions of San Francisco, San Diego, and Tijuana?
MT: SF: Luv, but real expensive, I’ve had a lot of random fun there and you can walk everywhere. SD: Verrryyy chill and sort of suburban but so far I’ve hated the gas lamp district ha! TJ: I’ve only been there at night and it’s pretty depressing all around, but it’s been a while so I should really go back and check it out.
CV: What are your favorite places to hang or drink/eat in Los Angeles?
MT: Short Stop its our version of Cheers. Monty Bar or a couple after hours places, La Cita & Los Globos* these are all fun dancing places. Eating I would say Amalia’s, Casa Del Sol, Rincon Oaxacano, Bao, Masa, Fresh Brothers, Xoia, Green Leaves, Silverlake Ramen and the carts that make the purple quesadillas those are the holy grail
CV: I know you have a fashion background. Does that play into your art at all? Would you want to do fashion again and incorporate more art into it? Like would you collaborate with fashion designers? You could probably make shirts with your art on them for example? How does L.A. influence your art?
MT: I don’t think I could ever only do fashion, it’s pretty brutal. I would be interested in working with a line or creating items if they make sense. Part of what I don’t like that’s happening in fashion is the throw away clothing. Because it creates so much literal waste and the bottom line is unsustainable if anyone is to be treated ethically. And I would say 90% of the industry is like this; it’s very cut throat. But working in fashion has taught me to try a little harder to work ethically, and if I’m worried about the environment or workers’ rights I can chose not to add to the problem. I’m trying to be more thoughtful with all the work I do, about the materials I use, and if I’m creating something that serves a purpose, if I can do that I’ll be happy whatever medium I’m working in. I would love to do t-shirts or work with designers, but I think the work would have to be made with that in mind. If it happened organically that would be something I would very much be into. L.A. is a big influence you see a lot here. Honestly currently I’m living in a loft on Skid Row where most of the homeless live and it’s very jarring to see the rapid gentrification that is happening all around this area. There are a ton of luxury lofts going up all over Skid Row. I’m not sure what to do about it. So currently L.A. is weird and I’m sure it’s going to take my art to weird places.
CV: Does growing up Mormon in Utah influence your art at all?
MT: Yes of course. It made me rebel lol. I don’t reference it directly in my work because it’s not a part of my life anymore. Although the majority of my family is Mormon we respect each other’s decisions and do not try to push our views on each other. I would say that being Mormon opened my eyes to the way that religion is a tool used to control people. Just like Catholicism and probably whatever religion we had before that. This is just the newest wave of colonization. Meaning that when the Americas were conquered the native people were forced to become Catholic and burn their books and learn Spanish. In America the same happened to the tribes here. But now it’s subtler, for me I feel like the layers of colonization are never ending and I am just starting to explore how to decolonize and who I am supposed to be. So that is at the center of my work, trying to find out who I could be.
See more of her artwork at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MARITZATORRESART