Oakland-based artist Allison Torneros, who works under the name Hueman, has filled an empty wall with a giant mural on the Neptune Building in the Los Angeles Arts District. The realistic spray-painted work “Bloom” depicts the artist’s hand clutching a beautiful bouquet of flowers, entwined with the mural’s title and set against a simple pale blue background. Incorporating text is a departure for Torneros, but in the case of “Bloom” she wanted to honor the unofficial mayor of the area, the late urban pioneer, actor, and activist Joel Bloom, who helped shape this neighborhood before his death in 2007.
Torneros is a female muralist in a field dominated by men. She grew up in the Bay Area and was aware of street art, graffiti, and murals from the time she was young. Graduating in 2008 from U.C.L.A., Torneros resides and works in Los Angeles. Since L.A. has decriminalized street art in 2013, she and others are free to create this vibrant art form in the beautification of the city.
Her high power murals are known for their bright colors and the mixing of figurative and abstract imagery in her compositions of hybrid beings. Unlike the traditional rendering of flowers in “Bloom,” her murals usually show ethereal motion in a freer style, where she employs splashes, drips, and spray paint’s gauzy effects.
Torneros has had commercial commissions, one of which was a Nike portrait of Kobe Bryant. She has produced art work for gallery settings and has had solo exhibitions in San Francisco, Hollywood, and Los Angeles’s Think Tank Gallery.
She has several murals up across L.A., including one on the campus of the Robert F. Kennedy Community School in Koreatown and another downtown at 9th and Main Streets. Toreros also has a mural at Rose Ave and 4th Street in Venice.