While this week’s cover artist, Armando Torre, may have been away from his native Naples, Italy, for 40 years, he’s still very much a product of his homeland. Consider the cover image, a seascape, that reminds him of his birthplace even though it’s a Fire Island scene. Torre’s fond memories of his art teachers in Italy have inspired him to teach private classes of his own in Bay Shore, where he now lives. Another inspiration may have been the ceramics he decorated when he worked for the famous Capodimonte Company in Naples. Their outstanding ceramic flowers, lamps, vases and fruit baskets are manifested in Torre’s still lifes.
What kind of art did you do when you were growing up in Naples?
Oil paintings of portraits, landscapes, mostly seascapes and still lifes.
When did you come to America and what kind of art did you do here?
I came to America in 1958 and married an American woman. I started a gallery in Bay Shore, doing painting restoration, custom framing and selling my own paintings. I still have the gallery.
How are art teachers different now than when you took classes in Naples?
Years ago, teachers helped you to be a better artist. Not like now. They don’t show you how to paint. Everything is theory. Progress means regression these days. Something is lacking in teaching today.
You also write poetry besides painting and teaching. You started doing this in Naples, right?
Yes. I wrote about the people in Naples. Whatever is about true life. What life is truly like for the poor people in Naples. They had no money and lived underground.
How about painting in Naples? What would you paint there now? What’s the most beautiful image to paint?
The most beautiful thing to paint is the sun, but you can’t paint the most beautiful thing. As far as visiting the most beautiful
place in Italy, go to the Amalfi Coast.
How about New York? How does that compare to Naples?
New York is the most interesting city in the world. Everything is built by people, like Los Angeles and Chicago. And I go to the museums in New York, especially the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I learn so much from seeing the paintings there, like Rembrandt’s work. Everything is different in Naples, of course. You see the natural sea, not made by people.
I thought about going to Las Vegas, but can you paint the desert? I like where the water is.
What about seascapes are you attracted to?
The waves. I like to go to the beach to see the colors in the waves. I used to paint storms a lot. A woman once said to me she wouldn’t buy my storm paintings because she was afraid. They looked too realistic. But a man bought one. He liked the storm. He was in real estate; maybe he saw the image as a reason people should buy insurance for their property.
How about your style? Do you have a particular one you use?
I like all styles. I still haven’t come up with one that’s just me. I like the French Impressionists, however. I don’t have only one style. I paint the way I feel that particular day.
To see Torre’s paintings, visit