Tori Cherry is an artist based in Charlottesville, VA. She is a 2021-2022 Aunspaugh Fifth-Year Fellow at the University of Virginia (CLAS’21).
Her paintings and drawings serve as sites for personal documentation, reflection, and connection. Through portraiture and still life inspired by her loved ones, her surroundings, and herself, she highlights the paradoxical uniqueness and universality of experience. More recently, her work explores the relationship between figure and space and how that interaction manifests in embodied idiosyncrasies.
Tori is our seventh featured 2021 artist in our fifth 7x7x7 Series, which asks 7 questions to 7 Charlottesville artists and is published once a week for 7 weeks. This summer's series is presented by The Seven Society and features artists affiliated with the University of Virginia.
1. If you had a free afternoon in Charlottesville what would you do or where would you go?
Anything that involves food or going on a walk someplace new. I keep a long list of restaurants in town that I want to visit, so I’d pick one to go try out!
2. Describe your artistic work in 7 words.
Documentary, quiet, familiar, warm, introspective, ordinary, soft
3. Who or what inspires your current work?
Everyday life, inhabited spaces, form, beautiful lighting, experience, family, friends, and strangers.
4. Consider one piece you’re working on right now. Give us a snippet of your routine—from start to finish, what goes into making it?
I get inspired by a scene, a person, or an image and usually spend time working out how best to depict it in my sketchbook. I only do a loose sketch as part of the fun for me is figuring things out along the way. For paintings, I usually do a monochromatic underpainting to figure out values and then go over top with more colors.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a person through the experience of making art?
I have learned not to take my surroundings for granted, to appreciate the beauty in the things I see and interact with every day. I’ve also learned how important it is for me to have a space for reflection and documentation.
6. What would you like to see happen in Charlottesville to better support artists in our community?
I spent one afternoon painting a still life with two of my coworkers and we often reminisce on how fun but rare it is for folks outside of school to have time and space to work alongside other artists. I think having some kind of recurrent group art-making session where artists can work on their projects alongside other artists would be great. There’s so much value in artists just being in the same space together.
7. What is currently on your studio/work desk?
- Old paintings I’d like to paint over
- a mirror from the previous 5th year
- gummy worms
- a staple gun
- Lysol wipes
The opinions expressed in this interview are solely those of the artist and do not necessarily represent the policies or positions of NCAI.
Tori's work is currently on view in a group exhibition, In Her World, at Voltz Clarke Gallery (NYC) through August 31. Save the date to see Tori's work at Welcome Gallery this November in a solo exhibition supported by UVA Arts & the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.