Julian Torres is one of today’s most fascinating adult entertainment performers. We’ve featured him here at Instinct before, covering his advocacy work to stop the negative stigma directed at sex workers, his unsuccessful but admirable efforts to be crowned Mr. International Leather, and most notably, his work to support children in need and the homeless. He’s more than just a “porn star.” In fact, his lesser known but impressive creative talents are just being discovered by his legions of fans and the the art world collectively.
Julian Torres — the artist, is taking flight with a growing list of art buying clients, installations in galleries and even combining live painting with provocatively naughty shows at major events in Europe. I recently interviewed Julian to learn more about his burgeoning art career and his very real contemplation of retiring from the adult performance industry altogether.
Interview with Julian Torres:
CA: I’m always fascinated to discover that many of today’s most popular adult entertainment stars have impressive hidden talents and, in your case, not so hidden as you’ve been gaining recognition recently as a very skilled painter and sculptor. So tell me more about your art and how long you have been creating.
JT: Actually, I have been creating ever since I can remember. My grandma was a very special lady, and she knew I was the special kid in the family, and by special, I mean gay. She got me my first painting kit when I was five years old: brushes, a sketchbook, and paint. Also, weirdly curious that at that age, I was trying to paint the Tutankhamun mask and not because she had told me to or anything, but because I used to watch The Discovery Channel as if it were cartoons.
Anyway, it has been a way to release stress my entire life, and since I started doing porn, it has kept me sane from all the craziness. I know that this is an outlet I always need to keep open to be able to feel alive.
CA: You shared with me recently that you were considering leaving the adult entertainment industry. Is that to focus and pursue your art full-time? If not, why are you pondering getting out of the industry?
JT: I am really not complaining about the industry at all. This industry is one of those professions that can work as a stepping stone to get you where you want to be in the future, accomplish goals, etc. I am talking financially. I love working in this industry and doing what I do. However, it is a career that has kind of an expiration date as “beauty,” “hotness,” or stamina don’t last forever.
This is why I am looking for ways to make the best of it and have a plan ready when I cannot do it anymore.
CA: Do you have a preference between painting or working in 3D with materials?
JT: In fact, I have always struggled with people asking me about what my medium is. I always try to be myself and do my own thing in my way. My main inspiration has always come from looking for ways to transform a world that’s just full of garbage and making something beautiful out of it.
Whenever I see a pile of trash, my mind is catapulted into the thought of how I could turn it into an object of beauty. I incorporate all my experiences across every aspect of my life in every piece I create, from Q-tips to earplugs and Christmas ornaments. A pile of broken canvases in the dumpster at my local Michael’s store or even the little foam peanuts you use to protect stuff during shipping are some of the materials I have used to create texture and give my pieces a lot of dimensions.
CA: You’ve recently launched a new website exclusively to showcase your artwork. Will you be showing in any upcoming exhibitions or galleries?
JT: Yes, the website idea was to start having a little exposure and for people to see my artwork in just one place. However, the main goal is to set up a gallery and have my pieces exhibited there. I am contacting many organizations right now to do this, hopefully in the next month or so.
CA: I recently saw IG posts of you in Madrid performing at My Pleasure — one of the best and biggest homo erotic parties in Europe. It looked like you were painting as part of the live exhibition. Was it your idea to incorporate what appeared to be an art-sex fusion performance? How did the crowd receive it?
JT: This is quite a special story. The first time I ever performed for them was in May of 2022. They told me they would love to work with me again and to let them know when I would be coming back to Madrid. I was planning to return to Madrid in December and told them about it. The creator of this party has such an amazing creative mind, Petro, and he saw that I had just posted a painting I did on IG.
He called me and said, “Hey, Julian, what do you think about the closing act of painting on stage?”. I didn’t hesitate at all. I told him that I thought it was a brilliant idea. This performance was done in front of a live audience of over 2000 people. It was an electronic music party, and the audience was ecstatic. At the show’s end, I already had messages on Instagram asking me for the piece’s price. The owner of the party said it didn’t have a price and would be hanging in his living room. I felt lucky and grateful for the opportunity and for starting something for me.
CA: You painted almost nude or in a jockstrap at the My Pleasure event. Is that what you actually wear while painting in your studio?
JT: Whenever I paint, I want to feel comfortable. I usually wear sweatpants and use my pants to dry my brushes (I know —that’s a little messy, lol).
CA: It has been difficult for some adult performers to pivot into other careers because their fans know them in a sexual context and have a hard time accepting them otherwise. What’s your thought on that?
JT: This, sadly, is a reality that we all need to face as performers. I am kind of on the edge about that because I do not care what people think about me. I give out positive energy and treat people with respect. If there is no reciprocation, then bye. I move on and keep going. It has been years of therapy work to help me understand that this is a reality, and I only need to accept it and not take it personally.
CA: Who are the artists who most inspire you?
JT: Ever since I was a kid, I have always been fascinated by Munch, the Norwegian artist that created The Scream, but then you read and develop more views as you grow up. Then, Francis Bacon, Picazzo, and Dali became some of my favorite artists and my main inspiration because they were pioneers in their own movements. Oh, also, the Italian painter Modigliani, who used to walk around the city and go to abandoned churches looking for marble to create his sculptures, which is basically what I do but in a different context.
CA: Oh, speaking of other people who inspire you, this is a random question, but I have been dying to ask you – cause I’m a nosey bitch. I saw you post pics a few months ago of having drinks at your apartment with hunky daddy dear actor Guillermo Díaz from the hit show Scandal. How do you know him? — If that’s too personal, tell me to mind my business. Lol
JT: OMG, this is funny because you’re not the first to ask. Guillermo Diaz is a dear friend, very close to my heart, and a special human being. He just came over to my place when I was having a rough time, just like good friends do. 🙂
CA: Lastly, when people encounter your artwork, what do you hope they take away from the experience?
JT: I want my audience to be intrigued, not only by the kind of materials I use and manipulate, but also I want them to create their own reality based on what they see. I always describe each of my pieces as its own planet, and all of them together form a solar system. Even though they do not look the same, something ties them all together.
Learn more about Julian’s artwork at www.Juliantorresart.com