AROUND THE BLOK. VOL. 13 - Jorge Ignacio Torres
Walking into Palabra is like taking a deep breath, one you didn’t even realize you needed. The encompassing white, fresh coffee brewing, and the soft noise of shears trimming in the background instantly put you at ease.
Palabra is a multi-use space created by Jorge Ignacio Torres. It’s both reminiscent and aspirational, similar to Torres himself. While talking with him, he reflects on a time when people more easily connected with their surroundings, but doesn’t shun the benefits technology has given us. In Palabras, he manages to find the balance in embracing minimalism without it being sterile. Instead, it’s all beautiful angles and thoughtful lighting design. He’s mastered what the Danish call ‘Hygge’, the art of building your own sanctuary.
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Jorge Ignacio Torres. I am first generation of Mexican descent. I’m currently wearing my wife’s jacket.
Why do you do what you do?
To build something for my family. I now have a fifteen year old son, so seeing things from a different lens drives me. Youth inspires me the most. It took me so long to find my place, I mean seriously thirty years. So now, if I can build something where someone can come in here and be inspired, at any age, that’s an accomplishment.
Is that why you opened Palabra?
Honestly, I used to be one of those cats that talked shit about how much Phoenix lacked. I came to the realization that I couldn’t depend on others to inspire me, I needed to build something that energized me.
The way I explain it is that Palabra is the mom. The mom that’s built this unique space to house and cultivate these different entities, grow them and then have them branch out on their own. It’s what we want with our people and also our space. We have a salon, a coffee bar, a small kitchen, and an art gallery.
What benefit does art provide to society?
Art provides a sense of community. I can’t think of any other thing that can bring people together more than art does. This is why it’s a privilege to be an artist. It’s not to gain profit, it’s to tell the truth.
What’s your advice to others chasing their dreams?
You have to go out there and seek it. You have to take action. It’s a trial basis of trying different things. If you sit there and expect things to come to you and wait, it won’t. When I first started doing things in Arizona, it was art galleries. It took a while to build and have people gravitate towards what we were doing. You just have to keep going.
For me, there’s no ending. There’s no, “I accomplished my dream, I’m done now.” You don’t want there to be an ending to seeking your purpose. When I feel too comfortable, I know there’s something wrong. I have to keep pushing.
I tell my team that we are our own competition. We need to always outdo ourselves.
What is your biggest inspiration to keep pushing?
Youth. Having a teenage son has taken me on a path to expose him to different things. Not everything is as accessible as you think. Too often, you’re stuck on your phone looking at shit. To me, to build something that someone can walk into and be moved by, whether it’s something they hear, see, smell, taste, touch. That’s the experience that I’m looking to build.
When you think of home, what comes to mind?
Family, always family.