As a lifelong artist finally finding her groove, Jan Latorre of jel designs channels Northern Michigan’s outdoors into her fine art photographic prints.
When Jan Latorre got a puppy, that little golden retriever led her down some unexpected paths while the two went walking through Leelanau County. With her camera at the ready, Latorre photographed the countryside with one hand while the other clung to the leash that corralled her puppy, Cali. It was those images of the natural surroundings near her Suttons Bay home that inspired jel designs.
Blending photography and watercolor with the aid of cutting edge computer programs, Latorre’s work blurs the line between natural and digital: “I was looking for different ways to print photography, and I found that I could digitally transform photographs to make them look like watercolors,” says Latorre. Though a lifelong art student—she’s taken classes at colleges wherever she’s lived, including at the Rhode Island School of Design and UMASS’s College of Art—, Latorre has only focused on producing art for the last 5 years. “I was a packaging engineer in Massachusetts for some time, and my husband and I moved to Northern Michigan about 20 years ago to raise our kids,” says Latorre.
Moving to Leelanau County proved instrumental to Latorre’s development as an artist. A self-proclaimed collector and nature lover, she gravitated to Northern Michigan’s outdoors and attempted to capture her surroundings in art. Latorre’s selective memory attests to her passion for nature: “I can’t remember what I had for breakfast the day before, but I can remember exactly where I found a stone that caught my eye.”
Since prioritizing artwork, Latorre’s work has jumped from medium to medium—she started with pressed botanical art—but she has since settled on her fusion of digital and physical technologies. Her work can be seen at several studios throughout Northern Michigan, and can be purchased at ShopMyNorth.com.
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