John Torrey was born in New York City and lives and works in a small town in Marin County, north of San Francisco. He has been drawing pictures since he was a young boy. His training has included drawing at the Art Students League in New York with Robert Beverly Hale and painting with Chester Arnold in California. John received a master’s degree in architecture from UC Berkeley. His travels have taken him to many parts of the world, including a six-year period in the gulf states of the Middle East where he worked as a town planner. John’s figurative art—consisting of drawings, paintings and sculptures—often has themes drawn from his travels, and his oeuvre tends to be expressionistic in nature. All of his art, including the sculpture, has a basis in drawing. John has dual citizenship with the USA and the Republic of Ireland.
“I am an artist from Marin County. I paint portraits (real and imagined), landscapes and narrative paintings. I grew up in New York City. It was a unique time for the arts in the 1950s—abstract expressionism was the dominant force in painting, and New York was the place to be. What I learned from those days is never go anywhere without a sketchbook for recording ideas, images and experiences.
“What I am trying to do in my work is to merge my talent for drawing with compositions in oil—combining line, color and arrangements into a single image. The important thing is to maximize the force of imagination in painting so that I do not hesitate in making decisions. The hand must be free to act quickly and spontaneously, allowing the expression of the painting to identify itself.” – John Torrey