You can see the contours of a woman in Allison "Hueman" Torneros' latest street art. Beautiful lips covered in red lipstick. Waves of luscious hair. An eye with heavy makeup. But the features — though clearly outlined — are tucked into a kind of abstracted dream sequence, as if Torneros' warrior princess is forming before our very eyes. That's the thing about Torneros' work: It's both woman-centered and mysterious, both instantly inviting and instantly challenging.
"Cutesy is not my thing," says Torneros, who was raised in Hayward and Fremont and is now based in Los Angeles, after studying design at UCLA. At age 28, Torneros has begun to make a national and international name for herself, and is about to collaborate with one of street art's biggest names, RISK.
In San Francisco, Ian Ross, the gallery owner/street artist, commissioned Torneros to do her new work on the large outer wall of his eponymous gallery, which faces a parking lot and overlooks Fourth Street, giving Warrior Princess (Urduja) a daily audience of parkers and pedestrians on their way to and from the Caltrain station.
One of the few female street artists from the Bay Area, Torneros says that the street-artist community, which is predominantly male, has accepted her. "They have been real welcoming," she says. "They know I'm not just another chick trying to be cute." J.C.