Born in Toronto, Canada, Winston Torr grew up in an Chinese-American household in Los Angeles, California, which will always remain his home. After receiving a BFA from California Polytechnic State University in Pomona in 2000, he decided to take that same amount of years it took to achieve the diploma towards his practice, and thus began to educate himself outside the school system. After a near-death experience in 2003, Torr craved a different cultural experience in search of identity. The path led him to Berlin, Germany – a place where all kinds of biographies mix and mingle, and where art is at its most diverse. The creative capital of Europe did not fail in its effect on Torr: His artistic repertoire soon began to broaden and flourish.
"Winston Torr became fascinated with newspapers. Their surface condenses the current society’s data. When street artists use the urban surface to express themselves, Torr uses another social surface, newspapers, that he turns by a whole mummification process into something organic. It becomes a raw material he paints on; it is a new soil coming from a compost, from which the artist extracts individuals. They are not just added on the canvas; it is a whole excavation process. There is a search for preciseness. The depicted human beings are nude, mainly athletic figures, and their contours are represented in 2D with the accuracy of a sculptor. Torr’s starting point is a well-developed world and society whose content he remodels to make human beings appear precisely, free from all social information and influence, rather than model human beings from the texture of a virgin world. It is a reversed genesis. "
--- Florence Reidenbach
"I am in love with the texture of newspaper. Every type of newspaper is different. I find the quality, roughness, surface, even the diverse inks of the various countries intriguing.
When I first started utilizing newspapers, the Black and White drew me in because there was less distraction in comparison to color print. There was even a time when I thought the color forced subliminal images and messages onto the paper. I would obstruct the colors with white paint and chalk to filter them out, blocking the social data.
I started to re-structure the newspaper elements by hand-picking information I wanted to filter in, without the societal environment forced upon me.
This process takes weeks to accomplish. I use acrylic polymer to attach selected pieces of newspapers onto canvas, then rip them off fiercely. I rub the direct social information away to reveal the reverse underside, a reflection into the world I create.
The process of rubbing is an addictive meditation to omit social barriers that I created for myself to cope with my own identity coming from an Asian heritage growing up in a Western Society.
The process of re-structuring I create by placing the elements forces me to realize characteristics not only about myself, but also about how rearranging the actual social environment is possible. Following this idea, multiple layers of newspaper pieces overlap each other, and the use of colors are invited into the composition under my analyzation and filtration.
The figures represent specific types in which society tells the public one should look like. I paint the figures conforming to what the society says, and then slash them out by cutting strokes as a method of construction and de-construction, composing and decomposing to shape my own identity the way I choose to live.
Scarification slash gestures across the figures against the re-assembled pieces represent a process of elimination as well as freedom from societal crucifixion."