We had the good fortune of connecting with Gina Torkos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gina, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I often take risks in my art. However, I don’t really think of it as taking a risk, but as answering the question “I wonder what will happen if I try this….” I believe that the moment you touch upon a new creative idea, you owe it to yourself to follow through in some way. Inspiration may pass you by if you fear or avoid trying something new. In my case, I was fairly successful at selling my oil paintings, but in my private journals I was collaging. Sometimes I couldn’t wait to jump out of bed to start another collage. This was my soul calling out to me to pay attention to what excited me. So I systematically transitioned from collaging in my small journals to playing in large scrapbooks, to eventually collaging on canvas. I enrolled in a workshop, and researched collage techniques. All this was done while still painting in oils. Eventually I entered a collage in a competition. Much to my surprise, I won an award and there was a nice buzz around my piece in that venue. At that point I made a decision to transition from an oil painter to a collage artist. I had taken small incremental planned steps to make the risky move feel like the next logical step. I feel I am carving out my own unique style of art and I am obsessed with each piece I create. Even today, I routinely experiment with new ideas because you never know when fortune will favor the risk taker!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My brand is all about creating beautiful Earth friendly art using discarded paper. I try to find ways to reduce my carbon footprint everyday. For example, I have used the same Princeton Catalyst silicone brush to create my collages since I’ve started (about 6 years)! I just peel off the dried glue and its ready for work the next day! A lot of my magazines come from friends, hair salons, and patrons. I welcome any opportunity for my art to benefit this sacred earth.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
St Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city in the United States. So it goes without saying that part of the allure of my city is the historical component. We have many talented tour guides here who can take you back in time from early settlers to pirate raids. I would start the week with a tour, perhaps on a house drawn carriage! Then we would visit the iconic Flagler collage, which was originally Henry Flagler’s Ponce de Leon Hotel. We would check out the Tiffany windows, and painted murals,. Across the street from the collage is the newly refurbished Lightner Museum, originally Flagler’s second hotel, the Alcazar. Lots of culture here. A visit to Anastasia Island’s gorgeous beach, then to the Alligator Farm. I am passionate about the nesting birds at the rookery at the Alligator farm. Of course, art galleries here offer so many incredible local and internationally renown artists, so we would spend a lot of time there. Lunch at “Crave” is a must. A martini at the bayfront tini martini bar is always a fun place to meet new people, Then dinner at Michaels, the ice plant, the Floridian, Llama, or the St Augustine Fish Camp. A trip a few miles north to the waterfront “Caps” is another essential. Then we would walk back to my house, and end each fun packed day sitting on the dock and watching the Bridge of Lions and the Lighthouse over a glass of port.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is an easy shoutout. This one goes to my husband Mark. He has been my biggest cheerleader, and my biggest critic, in the best possible way. He encourages me to go for my dreams, and is always there to keep me tethered to a bit of reality when my artist brain spends too much time in my imagination.
Facebook: Gina Torkos Fine Art