November 4, 2023 thru January 4, 2024
Klensor the Antihero Hero
by Vincent Torretta
November 4, 2023 thru January 4, 2024
MEET THE ARTIST
Vincent Torretta was born and raised in Staten Island, New York, where his initial creative inspirations were derived from local graffiti artists and cartoons. At an early age, comic book collecting prompted weekly strolls to Jim Hanley’s Universe in New Dorp, where he drew inspirations from animators such as Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, and Ralph Bakshi, comic book artists like Sam Kieth and Simon Bisley, and illustrators such as Norman Rockwell and Frank Frazetta. As he began to take pencil to paper, Vincent also discovered his passion for music, who was initially moved by albums like The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis and The Who’s Tommy, which later became sources of his musical aspirations.
After graduating high school, Vincent’s artistic desires led him to enroll at The Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in illustration. He went on to continue his education with courses in 3D animation at both The School of Visual Arts and The New York Film Academy before going to The New School to study film and photography.
While Vincent’s creative dreams clashed with his eventual need to “pay the bills” by pursuing a career in the telecommunications industry, he never stopped feeding his appetite for the visual arts. He attributes this, in large part, to his wife of thirteen years, Erin, with whom he fell in love on the top of the Empire State Building. After that memorable day, Vincent took the role as cinematographer/editor under his old LLC, Two Army Productions, in which he, along with an old F.I.T. pal, writer/director Robert Popolizio, produced one short film, Paths of Resistance, and two music videos: a blues number performed by Tommy “T-Bone” Mezzapella with lyrics by Robert Popolizio entitled, “The Ballad of Jo Jo Monroe,” and a rap video written and performed by Ray Bones for the film, of the same name. Vincent also had the pleasure of being a cinematographer alongside his New School friend, Reuben Meltzer, who took on the journey of documenting The Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2011, where they interviewed and filmed 24 different artists. All projects were premiered to the public at Manhattan venues. Despite all the love and effort in producing these projects, no monetary compensation was acquired, but so loved were these pursuits that none of that mattered.
Since then, Vincent and Erin have moved to the mountains of North Jersey, where Erin tends to a small chicken farm and recently started a second career in education. They raise two lovely, talented girls: Lisa, the hockey star, and Michaelena, the young medaling gymnast. Here, in his never-ending quest for creativity, Vincent picked up the guitar and started to teach himself. Amid the height of Covid, Vincent, while quarantining, started to put Klensor together to pass time, drawing and recording music for this character that he referenced since college. In ways, Vincent lived vicariously through Klensor, a “hero” who carried out all his most extreme, albeit controversial, ideas of “justice”. Vincent returned to his initial illustration aspirations, coupled with his latest musical ambition, to create this one man show before you, for better or for worse.
Klensor's conception is a result of my attempt in paying homage to both the visual art of cartooning and comic books, as well as the sonic art of the long forgotten, bloated, and self-indulgent Rock Opera, or Concept Album. It's a nostalgic recollection of purchasing one of these albums, sometimes entirely because of the artwork displayed on a roughly 12x12 vinyl album cover, and the excitement and imagery that would generate. The artwork was an integral part of the listening experience and the music aided in elevating the art. Both crafts perpetually inspiring one another to provide the observer with a mood and feeling as well as a narrative that would play out in one's head; sort of like a comic book with a soundtrack. Well at least this is what Klensor purports to be. A visual guide, coupled with music for mood, to hopefully feed the imagination of the viewer to visualize and direct a story in their minds.
It would appear that if painting, sculpture and illustration are the decoration of space; then by that logic music would be the decoration of time. A new plane of reality if you will. A fun, ridiculous and awful campy one at best, I hope.