Rising Star Brad De La Torre reaches across the globe with a body-painting shop on a military base.
We all know the make-up industry is a beast and becoming a make-up artist requires an insane amount of persistence, passion and innovation. Any time make-up artists trudge their way through an overgrown forest of obstacles, rise to the canopy and begin to spread their wings so to speak … we here at Make-Up Artist magazine take note. Because, like, that’s totally not an easy thing to do.
We call these artists: Rising Stars.
Ever since he was a kid, Brad De La Torre loved to draw and paint. It was one of those things that always made him happy. He recalls wanting to become a comic book artist. So, he started submitting his work to comic companies. Although all he ever received was declines in response, the artist in him kept growing.
For a short time, De La Torre attended Columbus College of Art and Design, but says, “Thanks to my love, my high school sweetheart, I left after a year.” He rolled with the ebb and flow of life and eventually opened his own business, ArtWorld Creations, at the age of 26.
He would custom paint motorcycles and airbrush t-shirts and occasionally someone would ask him to paint their face, or arm or other body part for a special occasion like Halloween. After running the business for seven years, De La Torre took a job as an illustrator for the training support company of Fort Knox. He sold ArtWorld to his younger brothers with the promise he would help them out from time to time.
And then life happened again. A crushing divorce brought everything to a halt.
As De La Torre navigated these murky waters, art remained a big part of who he was. Fast forward to the next chapter of his life and De La Torre found himself remarried and watching Skin Wars one night with his wife. “I thought to myself, ‘I can do that,’” recalls De La Torre, “and told her I’m going to apply.”
De La Torre says he received pretty decent feedback from that application … and that revved his artistic engine. “Ever since then I have been painting every person I possibly can every time I have a chance,” he says. “Also, I got a lot of incredible help from some incredible people. They know who they are. Michelle, Rachelle, and Jessica just to name a few. Heck, I think I painted up Rachelle enough to make a calendar.”
Most of his inspiration comes from the way he looks at life: with an open mind. “I try not to look towards body painting for the answer of my next body painting,” De La Torre explains, “even though I let it inspire me. I want to be inspired by everything and want to inspire people too. I want to make something that nobody’s ever seen before. Sounds impossible but I believe I can.”
De La Torre explains the inspiration behind some of his body painting: “[Rachelle’s] in the Dragon Scales as well in the photo because I think of her as an incredibly strong individual. Jessica was airbrushed as the Heart of a Champion for the Jan Tana Bodypainting Revolution which is on display around the world as a new part of the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic. Briana was airbrushed as a personal tribute to the military, specifically the 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell. We literally took the photos on Fort Campbell by their military equipment. This probably never has been done before. Rachelle, Jessica, Briana and Sierra are all wives of the military and Hannah served the military as an MP.”
Living Art America was one of De Le Torre’s first competitive make-up experiences and he says he “went all out.” Explaining his experience and body painting he says, “I love that photo by Alan Davis of my model Logan Howard holding the crystal ball. The headpiece was inspired and approved by Mario S. Nevado. My first competition I competed in the Pro category and quickly became known as the up-and-coming new guy. After that, I competed at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. I felt pretty good about it even though I didn’t win knowing that I had been selected to compete with some very incredible artists from around the world. In fact, some of the very best there (even though there were only 15 of them or so) besides me had a big name in the body paint world already.”
De La Torre plans on continuing to enter body-painting competitions. His most recent competition was in Africa at the Jan Tana Bodypainting Revolution at the Arnold Classic where he took 4th place. Talking of this event sparks his passion, and he says, “It may sound unrealistic, but I believe in my heart that I can become the world’s best body painters and become incredible at make-up, too.”
De La Torre has resumed his business ArtWorld Creations and has big plans for the future, which include becoming one of the few people in the world that sells body paintings printed on canvas from a military base. The shop holds a true piece of his heart and he says, “It also might sound crazy, even if I’m famous I will keep that shop up there so long as they have me. People will ask me why am I here and I tell them, to give the soldiers something that they wouldn’t get to see on a daily basis. They’ll travel all across the world and spread the word all about me and say, ‘There was this one guy, you wouldn’t believe it.’”
Well we believe it, and we love it. We can’t wait to see more of De La Torre’s work and where his artistic journey takes him. We can’t wait to see his star rise.
To see more of De La Torre’s work, visit his Facebook page here.