Known for her color work, Michelle Torrez does expressionistic oil paintings of figures that are intended to communicate the beauty of unlikely emotion, movement and life.
Torrez believes that the greatest influences on her work were the circumstances of her childhood and teenage years: "My life has influened me to look deeper to find the beauty and humanity in people and places. Even at an early age, I knew I was an artist."
Born in Denver, Colorado, Torrez is the oldest of four children from a working class family. Caring for her younger siblings while her parents worked, she would sit on the porch and draw to pass the time. "The other children would come around to watch, and art soon became a way of making friends for me." Instead of playing with other children, she drew them on computer paper her father brought home from his job at IBM.
Her art became a survival skill in a rough urban junior high school, where Torrez entertained even the toughest girls with her drawing. By the age of 13, she was painting and selling black-light posters, and found herself drawn to the work of Andy Warhol, Peter Max, and Spanish painters Diego Velasquez and Salvador Dali.
Later, Torrez studied passive solar architectural design and attended the Colorado Institute of Art where she was top of her class. She graduated in 1987 with an Associates Degree in Advertising Design. In Dallas, Torrez worked as an art director at an advertising agency. She began to explore the medium of sculptural jewelry where her work was exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Art Gallery. After returning to her native Colorado, she continued a career in advertising until 1994 when she formed a mural painting company, Studio M. Her murals appear in private residences and businesses throughout Colorado. Currently, she is a full time artist living and working in Denver. In recent years, Torrez has continued to explore her medium with the Denver Art Students League, studying with the artists Kim English, Dale Chisman, and Quang Ho.
Torrez' work has been featured in publications including Southwest Art, Colorado Expressions, La Voz, Image Magazine, Enlightened Woman, and Frontier Magazine. In 2003 she was elected by the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria to participate in the 'Art in Embassies Program', which includes the display of two of Torrez's paintings in the public receiving room of the Ambassador's residence at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. In addition, she was invited to Bulgaria where she met with local artists and presented lectures.