Illustration by: Arturo Torres
When Arturo Torres was nine years old, his father was escorted out of his home by the police after an attempt to murder his mother. She put a restraining order against him and his family for the years of abuse she endured and held her three boys close. From an early age, Torres found solace within the pages of his favorite comic books (particularly their characters) and developed a knack for illustrating, inspired by the heroes who never let him down: Spider-Man and Hulk.
By the time Torres became a sophomore in high school, he began to dream about being an artist. The idea seemed impossible—illogical even—especially for a family surviving on minimal, with no room for the celluloid creations of Marvel and DC. No mother wants her child to live in poverty, and here was her middle son (with more talent in his pinky finger) facing yet another generational cycle of “bare necessities”—the starving artist.
A decade later, Torres punctured the ceiling when he became a two-time New York Times best-selling illustrator with the 2015 release of The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed and, in 2017, Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated—both by Shea Serrano. Torres’ fanciful cartoon illustrations of famous sports icons and musical sensations gained him the attention of Nike. In 2017, Nike commissioned Torres to illustrate the entire backdrop of all five Nike Hyper Courts in Manila, Philippines, each one depicting a different basketball superstar.
For Torres, being an illustrator is more than a job; it’s a calling.
“There are so many kids in the world that have my childhood. I was fortunate to have a loving mother, but not every kid has even that. My art is my inspiration. I stay inspired by what I create, and I hope to inspire kids that feel they have no hope.”
Every aspiring artist, at some moment in time, will face the first inevitable struggle: making the leap from a full-time job to becoming an “artrepreneur.” For Torres, the leap was...
You will find Torres cozied up with earphones while sketching away his next masterpieces at either Common Desk or his crib.
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