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Rising Stars: Meet Melissa Torres

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Torres.

Hi Melissa, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I moved to San Antonio, TX in 1997 from Newburgh, NY after graduating college with a BS in Nursing. I have always loved art whether it be drawing, painting, or working with clay. I grew up as an only child and art was my way of entertaining myself, but I never showed my work to anyone. In high school, one of my art teachers suggested to my mother that I pursue a degree in it. I was a young mother, having had my son my Senior year. Mom felt art was a hobby, I needed a steady income to support myself and my son. I took a few art classes in college. Once I began working full time, I stopped. My life was sleep and work, mostly because I worked 12-hour shifts on Nights shift.

In 2010, I made the move to day shift. Feeling a bit more normal, I began crafting then drawing and painting again and took a class in acrylic painting. I painted a portrait in acrylics for a friend of her dog and daughter as a gift. It was the first portrait I had ever painted. I happened to show the photo to a coworker. Word got around and before you knew it, I began to have requests. In 2012 decided to make my art a legit business. I created Melissa A. Torres Art, LLC. I started out by making a Facebook page, then selling on Etsy, then created my website.

The majority of my creations are on canvas with oil and acrylics but I also dye silk scarves, and use paperclay to create various items. This past year, I did pretty well selling Puerto Rican themed items from my Etsy shop. My most sales come from pet portraits.

I am primarily a self-taught artist and continually love to learn from others and by experimenting myself. One of my biggest loves is plein air painting. I have several I have done here in Texas and from Edisto Beach, SC where I began by taking a workshop with a well-known landscape artist.

It has been quite a journey. It is something overwhelming being a creator and a business person, but I enjoy it. I also continue to work as an RN in one of the city’s busiest Emergency Rooms. Painting and creating is now my way of removing myself from all of the stress of that, and just life in general.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Some of the struggles have been learning about the business side of things. Taxes for example. Also going weeks or months without sales, but continuing to spend money to create, can be a bit discouraging. For the most part, it has been a great experience.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m an RN professionally, and create art on the side, as they say. I would like to say I specialize in canvas paintings but I create different things. I am most popular and for mini pet portraits. I paint them on 3×3 in canvases. Those have become popular due to word of mouth. I pride myself on how people admire my work and know that I will do my best to capture their loved ones on canvas, whether it be a human or animal. I have very loyal clients. I think what makes me stand apart from others is having to think differently meaning, separating my creative side from my professional side. The transition from thinking as an RN to an artist and vice versa. There are times I find myself at work thinking about what I will be creating next. I think my profession gives me a greater passion to create more art.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Having been an RN for 25 years, not really. I have seen many bad things in my life and have always felt one must live life every day to the fullest. You can make plans, but also know they may not happen. Life can change in an instant. Say the things you need to say, do the things you need to do because tomorrow is never promised. The next hour is not promised.

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1 Comment

  1. Dennis

    April 1, 2022 at 10:04 pm

    What a great article. I love that the artist is also an RN in an Emergency Room.

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