This week’s cover artist, Frank Latorre, is a man of many talents. Along with his skills in a wide variety of painting styles, Latorre is an accomplished chef and an award-winning harmonica player, guitarist and singer who has played with greats such as B.B. King and Johnny Winter, among many others. He even won a Grammy for playing harmonica with Winter, but Latorre says visual art has always been his primary muse. A true Renaissance man, the artist has done everything from Frank Frazetta–like airbrush work on hot rods and motorcycles, to etching glass, to trompe l’oeil murals in homes and restaurants, rock star portraits, illustration and en plein air seascapes.
Based in Mastic Beach, Latorre focuses mainly on acrylic painting today, though he also spends time working in the art restoration business and teaching art to groups of students privately or at special wine and painting nights. His blues band, Frank Latorre and the Kingbees, plays live around Long Island regularly. A fan of new challenges, Latorre says he will try to fulfill any commission request.
Tell me a little bit about this week’s cover, the horse painting. You said it has a pretty moving story behind it.
It’s a racehorse that was rescued by a very good friend of mine. They auction the horses for the same price as the meat. Eating horse is legal in Canada. My friend rescues and places them all over the country. The painting was a gift for her. The horse’s name is Crow…it was at her house, in her barn, it lives at Scarecrow Farm in Eastport.
You’ve done a good job capturing the feeling of this former racehorse reclaiming its dignity and freedom after nearly becoming someone’s dinner. When you paint something like this, are you thinking about its story?
I think a lot about any subject I paint—in this case a magnificent horse standing alone in a manmade setting yet strong enough to withstand the frigid temperature. I am a strong advocate of animal rescue. In the world that man took over we have the responsibility of caring for the animals. There is no more “wild” per say for them to take care of themselves. They are put in a position to rely on us for food and shelter.
You have mastered a number of styles. Do you feel like your approach—the style you choose and the kind of brushwork you’re using—affects the overall feeling of the piece?
It’s all a challenge to me. I would go crazy—I don’t have the attention span to paint the same thing over and over again. I’ve painted just about everything.
You are one of the rare people with great talent in several areas. In your case it’s art, music and cooking. All three can be quite creative. Do these things relate for you? Do they pull from the same well?
Painting, cooking, playing music, they’re all relative. When I paint, I hear music. When I play music, the notes are colors, and when I cook it’s all of the above. They’re all passions. The artwork has been my bread and butter, the music is living a fantasy—I’ve played with many, many people. In whatever I do, I try to have my own fingerprint on it—think out of the box, but at the same time capture what I am going for—a painting, a song or a gourmet meal; they should all have a soul of their own.