John Torres Has Done It Again!

After winning another award for his visionary and striking artwork, Molokai’s local artist John Torres smiled modestly about his prestigious talents. “I never planned to be an artist,” he said with a smile, “it was a lucky mistake.”

This week, Torres won second prize in the Hawaiian Veterans Art Contest, a competition which he has entered for the past five years – and has won prizes for each year. As a Vietnam War veteran, the competition has more significance than the other awards which he has attained.

But war is far from the scene when it comes to subject matter: Torres specializes in portraying everyday details of Hawaiian life. His latest award-winning work “The Kalaupapa Trail” can now be seen in the Molokai Fine Arts Gallery.

Torres began studying art at Waianae High School after his form tutor Mr Allen caught him sketching during class and enrolled him in the art program. Torres was later awarded a scholarship for a summer program at Honolulu Academy of the Arts but was delayed in his studies by a call to war. Years later, he was able to complete Art School at Ventura College in California, which he remembers fondly as having inspirational and talented mentors.

Despite the setback of a serious stroke in 1992, which necessitated a change from right to left handed work, Torres has a diverse range of medium to work with. Critics who debate whether his finest works are in acrylic or oil based paints, woodwork, pastel or inks will soon have more to contemplate. John Torres plans to release his first abstract later this year.


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