Interview with Artist Jessica Torrant

I am pleased to introduce you to Jessica Torrant, one hell of an artist!  If you fancy expressionistic paintings full of life and color, I highly recommend you check out her website, blog, and Etsy store.

Enough blathering, on with the interview!

Where are you from?
I'm from a town in northern Connecticut called Enfield. I currently live in a neighboring town that you could call a small "cow town" (visit me in the Spring, and you'll know why! Bring your nose plugs!).
Do you live with family (significant other, kids, pets, houseplants, etc)?
Yes I do! I live with my wonderful husband and my three step children stay with us on the weekends. We also have a yellow lab who we like to call the one eyed wonder dog, named Leo. He lost his eye a few years back to a tumor but he is healthy, happy and my best buddy. We are all a pretty goofy bunch living in our little cozy home on a hill.

What made you want to be an artist?
I almost feel like I didn't have a choice. It's something that came natural to me, it was always my favorite subject in school, and I just can't picture myself doing anything else. I was lucky to have a creative and supportive family that nurtured my dreams, no matter how outlandish it may have seemed at the time.
Describe the type of work you do.
I'm an abstract painter but I don't want to ever limit myself from exploring other subjects such as figures and landscapes. 
Abstract art is freeing for me and an ongoing adventure. I'm never really sure what to expect when I paint and I love the sense of spontaneity blended with intuitive guidance that happens. On a very basic level, I want to make work that is visually appealing and engaging. On a deeper level, I enjoy the idea that every single viewer will have their own reaction and response to my paintings. I think once a painting is complete you set it free and it belongs to everyone else from that point on.  

Do you work exclusively with acrylics?
For the most part yes, though I was trained in oils. I have enjoyed experimenting with mixed media collages, oil pastels, watercolor and pen and ink to name a few. 

Walk us through a typical day for you.
Every day is a new day and I tend to live in the moment as far as what I'll do next. My days include, in no particular order, walks and playing fetch with Leo, painting in my studio, carving rubber stamps, working online, maybe a visit to my flower garden for some weeding or admiring what's newly in bloom, and always a healthy dose of family fun time. 

Is selling your art your only means of income?
It is and it wouldn't be possible without my husband's income. I've been doing this full time since 2005 and it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride - moments of great success and big dips on the track. I'm always working hard with big goals in mind and I'm more committed right now than ever. I'd like to imagine what lies ahead is a slow and steady climb instead of the more erratic ride I've been on in the last five years. That's my goal!

What do you like to do when you're not making art?
I like working in my flower garden and enjoying other relative's gardens, going to the farmer's market, and experimenting with cooking. I'm not much of a baker, I'm more interested in ways to prepare an artichoke or make the perfect stir fry sauce. I love having down time with friends, laughing, sharing some drinks and supporting local music. Vacation time camping or at the beach is the best. I love hiking, swimming in lakes, tubing down rivers and body surfing is probably my most favorite pastime. If I lived by the beach I'd do it every day. 

Name two of your favorite artists (living and/or dead).
I'm going to say two contemporary painters that I also consider friends, Kendra Zvonik and Mary Ann Wakeley. I relate to them both with their own strong painterly voices and styles.
What advice do you have for new artists?
You're going to get a lot of advice from all different sources about how you should approach your art, how you need to work, how you will be able to get your work out there and the best methods to do so. I want you to take it all in, understand what that source is telling you and why, and put it all together in a big pot of knowledge that you can pick and choose from. In my twenties I was stubbornly independent and defensive. I took things too personally. It used to really irk me when my father told me his ideas about things I could paint thinking "he doesn't respect what I do!" but he did, he does and he was just sharing an idea. I had a professor for advanced painting in college that I wrestled with and I decided he was an arrogant jerk and pretty much ignored everything he said from that point on. There was a lot I could have learned from him if I hadn't been so stubborn, whether he was an arrogant jerk or not. My ULTIMATE advice is to be yourself, find what works for you, and don't limit yourself or worry about being the "perfect little artist that plays by all the rules" BUT I also want to advise young artists to be open to it all. There's something to be learned by every artist, so don't just limit yourself to any one box of definition. The guy on the boardwalk selling his seascapes has as much to teach you as the artist you most admire. Take it all in, don't take it personally, be true to yourself and keep an open mind for who you are and will be. We are ever changing, and art changes right along with you on the journey. 


  1. Thanks so much for the interview! It was a lot of fun. :)

  2. Wow! Nice work!

    I really like the top painting! But they're all great!

    Best wishes!