Dana Torrey (310) 230-3278
Dana Torrey / 15332 Antioch St. #806 / Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

NORTHAMPTON Tusday, November 30, 1999 Daily Hampshire Gazette A3
Artist helps a charity
NORTHAMPTON - Dana Torrey, a Northampton native, has made a name for himself in the art world in Los Angeles. Last month he used that name for an art auction at Sotheby's that earned $19,000 for a children's charity.

Torrey, who graduated from Northampton High School in 1976 and from the University of Massachusetts in 1980, moved to California in 1982 to launch an art career.

He is in town this week with his 10-month-old daughter Jessica and wife, Tricia Torrey, visiting his childhood home on Prospect Street across from Childs Park, where his mother Jay Torrey still resides. His father, Dana Torrey, died earlier this year.

His Thanksgiving visit extends until tomorrow, but last week before the festivities began, Torrey took some time to talk about the auction, held at Sotheby's in Beverly Hills, and about the art career that led him to the point of holding solo art shows and benefit auctions.

For more than a decade, he worked as a freelance artist and illustrator for the film industry, painting movie backdrops and scenic set designs on such movies as "Heathers," and a host of others.

He struck out on his own as a solo artist in 1996. These days, Torrey's specialty is a form known as contemporary plein air painting. Based on the Impressionist movement of Europe, the style uses the practice of painting rapidly in the open air.

Torrey works on the patio of his home in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, painting from photographs he takes himself. He then plays with the photographic images on the computer to create an image with a particular lighting effect he seeks.

The point of painting outside is to have the benefit of natural light, for which there is no substitute, he says. He says he likes to study light, landscapes and the way people affect the natural world, he said.

"I do a lot of combinations of where nature meets up with the city," said Torrey. "You're always on the edge of nature and you're always on the edge of man."

He is also a woodworker and builds all his own frames for his paintings, some of which are seven-feet long.

The proceeds from the Sotheby's auction were donated to The Children's Institute International, a charity chosen by Torrey's father-in-law, Richard Riordan, who is the mayor of Los Angeles.

Torrey's prints sell for between $600 and $850, while pastels sell for $2,000 and originals go for $10,000.

Torrey said that last year, he sold some work as a benefit for a Los Angeles-based organization called Free Art for Abused Children, an agency that provides art enrichment to children in group homes in the city.

This year, Torrey asked his father-in-law to select the charity to benefit from the auction.