Written and photographed by Laura Storck
On March 12th, I was fortunate to attend the opening reception of Syd Torchio’s exhibit sponsored by Sarah Theilke and Stephanie Slate of Gush Gallery at Jinxed West Philly. Luckily about 10 minutes early, I had a few private moments to speak to the artist himself about his work, artistic process, training, and to spend a few moments to get better acquainted. Syd was very affable and looked very charming as he wore dark attire with his signature black fedora. Besides practicing as a painter for the past 25 years, I learned that he initally began his artistic training in ceramics in the years prior. In addition, Syd is also a musician who plays French Horn for the West Philly-based band Taupe – a true Renaissance man!
Mr. Torchio’s gouache portraits are created with very deliberate and colorful strokes, almost as bold as the countenances they honor. Some individuals portrayed in his expressive paintings are family and friends, but several are the free-spirited, nonconformist, eccentric characters that exist on the fringes of humanity’s Venn diagram – in other words, my kind of people. These revealing images are a decisive dichotomy of the lachrymose and joyful. Although raw, edgy, and somewhat maudlin, these gorgeous and lush paintings translate well his choice of purposeful polarity as they also elevate and flaunt the essence of a human soul. The intimate gaze masterfully expressed initiates an irresistible narrative between the visage and the viewer.
Syd Torchio’s beautifully candid works can be found displayed in the far end of the store, with framed portraits gracefully adorning the walls, and several centrally-located prints available scattered amongst other store ephemera for sale. It’s definitely worth a trip — come see this amazing work on exhibit at Jinxed through the end of March.
“Jinxed began in the 1990’s in Philadelphia as an art-based t-shirt company. After spreading around the country via tattoo conventions and retail stores, we decided to open our own retail location in the summer of 2004. Since then, we’ve expanded to five retail locations in downtown Philadelphia. Now, in addition to t-shirts, we are known for the best vintage furniture and housewares you can find at hassle-free prices. We are also committed to the local art and small business community to bring you variety that you can’t find anywhere else!
Thank you for supporting who we are and what we do!” – Jinxed West Philly
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