One of the key creative talents behind multi-disciplinary fashion label Paloma Wool, the Barcelona-based artist champions women in both her minimalist nude paintings and her commitment to creating female-focused environments.
As a child, Tana Latorre enjoyed lying on the grass, gazing at the leaves high up in the trees, savoring the idea that nobody else had touched them. She still does it. “Just like plants, humans inhale and exhale. We are resilient and beautiful and want to feel loved and cared for,” she explains.
Latorre lived in various urban metropoles including Paris and New York before settling in her current home of Barcelona. She is, however, most nostalgic about growing up close to nature in Nairobi, Kenya, where she went on regular safaris and spent her out-of-school hours climbing trees and making potions out of leaves and flowers in her family garden, not dissimilar to the way Dr Hauschka uses ingredients from their biodynamic medicinal herb garden to produce their organic cosmetics. “I remember driving to school in a bus that looked like a tin can, living in my kindergarten uniform, and having no toys or TV,” Latorre recalls. “No one was concerned by being cool in the way kids are in other countries.”
While she was mainly based in Nairobi during childhood, Latorre also traveled extensively due to her parents’ involvement with the U.N., including a year spent in New York and a high school education in Geneva, a place Latorre requested to fulfill her desire to live in in the idyllic Swiss countryside. This international upbringing instilled in her a cosmopolitan outlook from a young age. “I understood early on that people speak different languages, look, and eat differently. To me, this diversity was normal,” says Latorre. “I feel lucky to have had so many different experiences in my youth and lived in so many places. I feel at home in the world.” This being said, she does have a preference for environments that allow her to step back, create space, and reconnect with nature over bustling, overwhelmingly high-paced cities.
“I believe that beauty comes from self-confidence and living in alignment with one’s true nature.”
Latorre’s childhood was not only formative in its internationalism, it also helped her foster her passion for culture and creativity. “As a family, we always visited art museums and I certainly grew up with an appreciation for art,” she says. “The ‘aha!’ moment only came when I saw an exhibition about Henri Cartier-Bresson aged 14. Around the same time I discovered Lucian Freud’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and I was struck by his ruthless, confrontational realism. It inspired me to experiment and so I taught myself to paint, reproducing artworks by great artists such as David Hockney and Barbara Kruger,” she explains. Despite this passion, Latorre didn’t decide to pursue a degree in Fine Art, undertaking studies in design instead at Creapole in Paris and Eina in Barcelona. “I was always aware that an art career was a hard road and not everyone “makes it”. Design gave me an opportunity to cultivate my creativity while making sure I could be self-sufficient and pay the bills.”
Today, while Latorre is reluctant to call herself an artist due to never having received any formal training, painting for her is way more than just an off-duty passion. Sharing her soft, minimalist ink paintings of female bodies on her popular Instagram account—which now boasts 18.6 thousand followers—as well as experimenting with painting directly onto nude female skin and bodies, her artwork is a declaration of her love of womanhood. “Drawing the female body is, for me, a sort of meditation. I am in awe, I feel privileged.” She would, however, like to be able to dedicate more time to her paintings, as she admits that over the past couple of years she’s mainly been occupied by working on commissioned projects for commercial clients. “I enjoy this work a lot, but there is also so much that I want to explore through my personal practice in the future. Every form of self expression deserves lots of time and love.”
“Just like plants, humans inhale and exhale. We are resilient and beautiful and want to feel loved and cared for.”
Throughout her life, Latorre’s female family members and close friends have been vital to her success. She’s particularly keen to talk about her grandmother, whom she lived with for eleven years when she first arrived in Barcelona and whom she calls her greatest role model. “After my grandad left her she took a leap of faith and started the first all-female gym in Barcelona, giving yoga and ballet classes. She was so maternal, warm, and inspiring, and at once embodied grace and empowered strength.”
Female relationships and creating environments where women can flourish continue to be at the heart of Latorre’s personal life and career. This is most evident through her involvement with Paloma Wool, a multidisciplinary project headed by Paloma Lanna which Latorre joined in 2014. Six years later, the independent label—which is run by a solid team of 12 female friends and talented creatives—which sits at the intersection of fashion, art, and photography has grown into a successful, unique space for artists to network and showcase their creations. “Women are taught to be likable. We are conditioned to deny ourselves on all fronts: look pretty, don’t speak up, stick to the diet, and so on” says Latorre. “With this in mind, championing female artists at Paloma Wool and painting female silhouettes as part of my personal practice are one and the same for me. They’re a tribute to women, an encouragement for them to feel comfortable in their own skin, to embrace vulnerability, freely express themselves, and embrace their own power. I believe that beauty comes from self-confidence and living in alignment with one’s true nature.”
“Drawing the female body is for me a sort of meditation. I am in awe, I feel privileged.”
Latorre’s role at Paloma Wool means that she is often extremely busy setting up collaborations with international female photographers, ceramicists, and illustrators, as well as managing special projects such as an around-the-world tour of Paloma Wool’s pop-up shop. When she wants to find time to relax and reflect away from the stresses of her day job, Latorre always retreats to nature. “I need to find balance in my life amidst the mayhem. Going for a long walk in Montjuic or the Collserola Natural Park in Barcelona,”—which, while being one of Spain’s premiere cities, is surrounded by a beautiful mountainous and coastal landscape that is easily accessible by foot—“has healing powers,” she explains, reflecting how Dr. Hauschka believes their sustainable, naturally-sourced cosmetics are the best products to regenerate your skin and achieve natural beauty. “Taking care of my house plants is also like a ceremony of self-love and self-care. I love touching their branches, observing their roots, and seeing how their blooms change in color and shape,” Latorre adds, referring to the plant life that covers her top floor apartment. The one time home of her grandmother’s gym, the space has now been transformed into a serene abode for Latorre. Filled with design pieces, old photographs, and the artist’s own paintings, it is at once peaceful and inspiring.
The one lifelong ritual Latorre has is buying fresh flowers immediately after she returns from business trips. “I have to do it as soon as I’m back in Barcelona or I’m at sea”, she laughs. “I think I am almost like a plant myself,” she adds, comparing herself to her floral friends. “I need to get that sweet earth between my toes, to feel my pulse, and stretch my limbs towards the sun.”
Tana Latorre's minimalist ink paintings
Tana Latorre is a Spanish artist and one of the female creatives behind Barcelona-based multidisciplinary fashion label and community platform Paloma Wool. To find out more about Latorre’s work, head over to her Instagram. This interview is part of Let Nature In, a content series produced in collaboration with organic skincare brand Dr. Hauschka. Showcasing inspiring female creatives for whom the concept of natural beauty is intrinsic to their practice, the series also features portraits on British multi-disciplinary artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Berlin-based Michelin starred chef Dalad Kambhu.