Helena Toraño (Llanes, Asturias, 1984)
Helena Toraño likes to say that she has always been interested in painting. What was once a childhood passion later became her university specialisation (she graduated in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country, 2007); and, since then, it has been her main dedication, which has manifested itself in a wide variety of formats: group shows in different galleries, solo exhibitions (“Pop”, Sala Borrón, Oviedo, 2010; “Interiors”, Adriana Suárez Gallery, Gijón, 2011), the selection of his work in numerous regional contests and competitions (Luarca National Art Competition, the “Casimiro Baragaña” Contemporary Painting Competition, Villaviciosa Painting Competition, Noreña Painting Biennial), or the invitation to participate in various artistic projects (“Ópera+Artes”, Campoamor Theatre, Oviedo 2012; “Artists and Derivatives”, Barjola Museum, Gijón, 2016).
The last few years have only confirmed that her childhood passion deserved such obstinacy: in 2014 she was awarded the “Asturias Joven de Artes Plásticas Award” for her composition “Las Cosas”; in 2015 she had her solo exhibition “Buen Otoño nos espera” (Sala Borrón, Oviedo / Valey Centro Cultural, Castrillón) and in 2016 she was represented by the Galería Gema Llamazares. During the same year she was present at several art fairs with the gallery: JustMad7 (where her work “Ni lo sueñes” was selected for the Pilar Citoler Young Collector Award), Art Marbella and Feria Arte Oviedo.
She has also worked in editorial design (illustration of the novel The Great Gatsby for the publishing house Uvebooks, or the artwork for the albums “Hacia el mar” by Lavandera or “Entretiempo” by the duo Møna).
In March 2017, “Las horas libres” was presented in Madrid in a solo show, made up of twenty paintings that were exhibited at the Utopia Parkway Gallery; and in September, Helena held her most ambitious exhibition to date (“Top Secret” at the Gema Llamazares Gallery, Gijón) in which she covered different media: canvas, installation and video. The writer and journalist Julio César Iglesias, author of the corresponding text, was in charge of the presentation.
That same year she was commissioned by Art Mustang Projects to carry out a specific collaboration, also acquiring works that will become part of the Foundation’s collection. In March 2018 she opened her exhibition “Viento a favor” there.
Also during 2018 she was part of the collective “#Stories” at the 6th Art Gallery in Palma de Mallorca during the month of June; in October she exhibited the series “Los ojos cerrados, la mente sin prisa” at Feria Arte Oviedo (Galería Gema Llamazares), becoming a finalist in the “En recuerdo de Kely” Prize; In November she was awarded second prize at the XIV Certamen Nacional de Pintura Casimiro Baragaña (Pola de Siero) and in December she was present for the first time at an international art fair, Context Art Miami, with her main gallery. In 2019 she repeated the experience, showing her work at the JustLX fair (Lisbon).
In September 2020 she presented her solo exhibition “El soplo de los días” at the Gema Llamazares Gallery and in October she participated in the first edition of the online art fair “Another Fair”.
In September 2021 she took part in the exhibition “Un relato polifónico. Asturian Art 2010-2020”, curated by Semíramis González (Centro de Cultura Antiguo Instituto de Gijón) and in February 2022 was present at the Urvanity art fair (Madrid). Also this year the education department of the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza invited the artist to give a micro-workshop on acrylic technique in November.
In February 2023 she presented some of her latest works at the Urvanity Art Fair, organised by Llamazares Gallery.
Apart from her artistic activity, Helena Toraño has been part of the musical project Los Bonsáis, together with Nel González, since 2012. Since then, both have released four albums with the record label Elefant Records: “Ultramarinos” (2012), “Martín Pescador” (2013), “Nordeste” and “Fanzine!” (2015), in which Helena – besides composing, playing the guitar and singing – has been in charge of the group’s image (videoclips, photographs, artwork…).