Born in Belfast during the so-called Troubles in 1983, self-taught painter Gerard Torbitt’s colourful life so far has allowed him to create striking, vivid pieces that draw on a multitude of influences.
From Saturday morning cartoons and WWF wrestling to Francis Bacon and chaos magic, from heavy metal and Lovecraft to M.R. James and Basil Gogos, his inspiration goes from lowbrow to highbrow, and many points beyond. While growing up amidst turbulent times in Northern Ireland, the heavy, disturbing atmosphere of the goings-on encouraged a love for fantasy and escapism through art and music, that he has nurtured since a young age.
A grammar school art failure, and erstwhile heavy metal singer, with a total of 3 months of art college under his belt, he continued to paint and study while jumping from unsatisfying job to unsatisfying job, honing his craft with occasional commissions for bands or friends, and sporadic pieces of his own work.
After decades of anxiety, low self-esteem and depression spurred on by both bereavement and fatherhood in recent years, Gerard became encouraged to focus his energy on creating and exhibiting his own art and trying to encourage others who may have long hidden their own light away for fear of failure or rejection.
Through the support of family, friends, and a seemingly ideal passion for chaos magic, the artist has emerged stronger than before, and indeed, his pieces strike the viewer as both colourful and dark, vivid and obscure, bright and occult, often served with a distinct taste of Belfast humor. Gerard often makes use of fluorescent or glow in the dark paint to add a self-coined “Toy Shop Pop” to his pieces, which are enthusiastically created in chaotic ‘rituals’ of splattered paint and blacklight – a cheerful, psychedelic contrast to the dark undertones, inspired by trauma, fear, isolation, and the ghosts and blood of his roots.