Inspiration: Brant Torres

Creativity and loss are like feathers on a bird: they overlap, brush against each other, mirror each other’s movements and, at times, look and feel identical.

Brant Torres, assistant professor in the University of San Francisco’s Department of English, traces much of his artistic expression to the passing of his mother. A painter, knitter, weaver and embroiderer, Torres recalls the woman who inspired him: “My mother was a very talented artist who wasn’t able to finish her art degree in college and later became a police officer. But her artistic energy moved into cross-stitch and embroidery.”

Growing up, he saw her artwork throughout the house, and he sees his home today as a place to beautify with art. “We need to reclaim the domestic space as a place where art can exist in a very real and legitimate way,” he says.

Currently, Torres is working with pattern design and experimentation on knit fabrics. “I’ve also been working on weaving as a way to think of different ways to make a canvas for needlework,” he says. “While I started off mostly with embroidery from patterns, I’ve been trying to venture out into projects that allow for original design.”

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This tea towel reflects, in stitches, a watercolor and ink painting (also pictured) that Brant Torres also created. He emphasizes the importance of having art in the home, just as he observed his mother’s creative work. “I loved that my mother’s hand could be seen throughout our home: from the stenciling in the kitchen, to the hand-sewn curtains, to cross-stitching our Christmas stockings and tapestry-sized artwork, to painting a mural of clouds in my room, canning fruits and hand-making Halloween costumes,” he recalls.

Torres’ watercolor and ink painting preceded the tea towel with a similar design. “The shapes in the painting and the color tones were inspired by a tarot deck that my mother had,” he says.