Artist, Creative Problem Solver, Innovator- Ed Jaffe Carves his niche into Torrington
Reprinted from Let’s Talk: Artists. Summer 2015 By Susan Read
Jaffe moved to Torrington last year in order to be a part of the obvious arts revival occurring here. Just off Torrington’s Highland Ave, Jaffe’s newly renovated and re-purposed studio holds all the magic of his prolific and successful career. Jaffe is an old school artist who recognized Torrington as a city reconceived in the mind of the 21st century artist. Like Great Barrington, Massachusetts and Portland, Oregon, Torrington struck Jaffe immediately as a community primed for fostering his particular artistic interests.
Jaffe would love it if you came to see his painting and sculpture studio. Though the studio is right in the city, you sense bucolic tranquility when you arrive. Stone, wax, and wood sculptures dominate the space; however, he also has a few more recent works to view. The novice, as well as the connoisseur, of art will immediately see why Jaffe has earned so many accolades from the art world, is considered a successful artist, and sells well. His current 3D paintings maintain the earlier, indigenous influences of his stone work; however, his complex process fashions angles and planes that create an intrinsic geometry. Within this geometry, his paintings maintain distinct humanity. As I moved around the rooms of his studio, the paintings changed form because the angles of light shifted. Jaffe has not abandoned the sculpture of his early work: he’s reinvented it in abstract, angular paintings.
If you would like to see Jaffe’s studio, give him a call at (914) 715-2055. He’d be delighted to show you his work, but he is not someone you want to “drop—in on. “
Jaffe feels his eighty—six years enough to note that the ninety pound sculpture, “weighs more than it used to,” with a grin. For a sneak peak, visit his website at edjaffe.com. Jaffe’s photo studio includes breathtaking sculpture as well as the contemporary paintings. Though, by his own admission, his studio is “a little inconvenient and by appointment” his community spirit and contributions, like his art, are innovative and experimental.
When Jaffe decided to move to Torrington, the city had no idea what a mover and shaker he would be. Those who hang around city hall have no notion of his talent as an artist because they know him as a powerful advocate for positive, creative innovation in our zoning laws. His verbal skills and keen mind are so advanced that it’s hard to resist his persuasive tongue. It’s a good thing, too, because WOW! Ed Jaffe has great ideas for the future prosperity of our fair city. The way Jaffe’s mind works and his vision of the future are only surpassed by his recent push to bring his vision to fruition in Torrington.
For centuries, artists have moved to small, affordable places with inexpensive rentals, preferably warehouses—large open areas with room to produce. “Artists need space.” Word spreads among artists about good places to live with affordable large spaces, and they begin to cluster there. We can see the outcome of their decisions by recalling Greenwich Village fifty years ago when it was full of “starving artists.”
The pattern of organic revitalization has repeated itself through the ages because artist colonies increase property values. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens.
Ed Jaffe understands this dynamic and he envisions Torrington full of musicians, writers, poets, painters, sculptors, dancers, weavers, and potters. In order for Torrington to be the kind of city that artists will move to, we needed friendly zoning, so Ed Jaffe came up with a plan and the city adopted it—the Arts Blanket.
Visualize our city separated into its various zones, then spread a huge blanket over everything: that’s the Arts Blanket. The Arts Blanket means that an artist can find a place where he or she plans to live and work anywhere in the city. From start to finish, buying a property, and applying for the Arts Blanket takes about the same amount of time as buying any other property. For more information about the Arts Blanket, contact Torrington’s City Planner Marty Connor or go to the website www.artistrelocation.com.
Ed Jaffe’s efforts to help artists have helped elevate our own vision of Torrington. Thanks to Jaffe and City Planner Marty Connor, Torrington is now positioned to take back its precedence as the premiere city—the anchor community—in Litchfield County. On Jaffe’s Facebook page, he writes, “The Planning and Zoning commission has made Torrington a very friendly community for the working artist.*It is now possible for you to purchase a private home or a commercial property anywhere in the city and adapt it into a live/work facility. The program is just getting started so you could come in on the ground floor. Right place. Right time. Right price.”
With this kind of cachet, it’s no wonder that Judy McElhone, Director of Five Points Gallery, said of Jaffe, “It is a great testimony that someone like Ed Jaffe decided to settle in our city.”
To see some of Jaffe’s sculptures, go to his Website www.edjaffe.com or give him a give him a call at (914) 715-2055 to arrange a visit to his studio.