“I’ve always had this fantasy!” says Julie Torres as I am closing a small gate entering her small brown house in Williamsburg. The air is hot and steamy; it stopped raining only minutes ago. The Brooklyn flora absorbed the moist hastingly, as if it knew that the upcoming months will not bring anything else than hot wind and burning concrete. The summer in Brooklyn is approaching quickly.
“I want my paintings all over myself, all over the place. Everywhere!”says Julie with a sparkle in her eye. She is explaining on the porch, and as we’re walking up her stairs. I’m thinking that the concept is perfect; it matches with the exact precision Julie’s personality. Julie makes abstract paintings in vibrant colors; she’s quick and paints in the heat of the moment, inspiration being her fuel and radiation of energy a necessary byproduct.
Julie’s living room is a joyful and creative mess. Tubes of paint, paint brushes, sketchbooks, sheets of paper, and hundreds of paintings painted on all kinds of materials, like a piece painted on an envelope I pick up…
Julie and I begin to hang the paintings on the ceiling, and to spread them on the floor, creating a projection of Julie’s inner world in her living room. “I only want to make paintings. And look at paintings,” I remember Julie once telling me.
Thousands of threads of paint have dried dripping on the wall where Julie paints.
She started to hang out in Bushwick about a year and half ago and barely missed a single art opening. “Since I came to Bushwick, everything changed. I found friends. And community. I know I can’t go wrong, I can’t fall, because they won’t let me. And it may sound like a cliché, but that’s something I’ve never had before. I finally feel like I belong somewhere.” says Julie. “I am incredibly thankful for that.”
Julie is sitting on the floor, just starting a new painting. She makes two blue lines, then goes for some yellow and red. I’m asking her to pose a little, but she says I have to wait because this looks like a good one.
Being with Julie feels like recharging your creative energy. The air she’s surrounded with, buzzes, I swear. She has organized and curated a number of notable events and creative-people-get-togethers. Like the painting marathon a couple of weeks ago at the Hyperallergic headquarters. She was painting for 24 hours aiming to make 100 paintings. The first 100 visitors got a free piece. She will be doing a similar event for Northside Open Studios, and will paint for 5 hours this Sunday from 12 to 5 at India Street.
Recently, Julie came to the attention of public thanks to organizing an informal ‘drink ‘n’ draw’ sessions throughout the course of 9 weeks and bringing together 45 artists. These sessions resulted in 100 collaborative and experimental pieces and a big art party at Norte Maar during Bushwick Open Studios. The show is called “So Happy Together” and the pieces are still on sale for as little as $ 50, thus making art accessible even to a regular Bushwick resident. You should definitely check out the closing party at Norte Maar on June 26.
All photos by Katarina Hybenova for Bushwick Daily.