The de la Torre brothers are makers. Einar and Jamex blow their own glass, pour resin to make castings, design lenticular prints, and search out flea markets for fascinating cultural objects. The brothers have observed that in the art world there can be a false divide between artists who focus primarily on an artwork’s concept and crafts people who focus on the process of making. Einar remembered that early in their career artists would ask them “’who blows glass for you?’ And we’d say, ‘well we do it ourselves.’” As artists they often found themselves with, as Einar said, “one foot in the craft world.” Rather than choosing sides, they continue to produce and make art that showcases both a mastery of artistic craft as well as deep and layered conceptual meanings.
When the brothers were in high school Jamex began to work for Cam Curtis, a lampwork glass maker. He taught Jamex how to use a torch to heat up rods of Pyrex glass. In lampwork glassmaking, glass is pulled and manipulated into small figurines. After Curtis retired, Jamex took over the business bringing in Einar to help meet all their production needs. As Jamex laughingly remembered, “we made hundreds of unicorns!”
While the brothers attended art school in Long Beach, California they discovered blown glass. Blown glass, as Jamex described it “is a completely different medium, and it’s a very interesting medium because it tends to suck people in.” Blown glass can only be completed with a team which fits with the brothers’ creative and collaborative spirit. As Einar said “it has kind of a built-in collaboration of sorts because you're listening to the other helpers. They’re telling you some ideas, there commenting on your worker, they’re trying to facilitate your work.” While working with glass became one of their favorite mediums, the brothers primarily work in mixed media and continue to learn about and utilize different mediums such as lenticular prints.
Einar recalled that the brothers discovered lenticulars by chance when they went to a signage shop. “We stumbled into this large lenticular poster of a Disney movie. And it was one of those moments when we both went, ‘how do you do this?’” Lenticulars are layered prints which use plastic prisms to trick the human eye, as the eye moves it sees one image and then another. Two images are cut into small lines and placed on tiny thin vertical prisms creating a flat image that appears to have more visual depth. The bothers’ use lenticular prints to layer in additional content, imagery, and meaning into their artworks such as “Ya Sabritas.”
As mixed media artists, Einar and Jamex experiment with new and different techniques. “The medium has always been about what we need, what effect we need, or what texture. Whether it has to do with texture, with color, with the way that your eye moves - viewing the artwork,” said Einar. In the brothers’ mixed media pieces different media are layered together combined with differing adhesives and glues to create a cohesive piece.
While the brothers are maximalists, they think deeply about what it means to create and make objects in a changing world. “You’re making things in a world that’s already chock full of things, and the landfill is where they end up," said Jamex. As artists they think about how they justify their footprint. Jamex explained, “you have to find meaning in your process, in your work, and you have to feel like you have something to say because otherwise, why say it right?”