Art, architecture, aprons: new Torpedo Factory artist McCain McMurray

Visitors to the Torpedo Factory are often delighted by the accessibility of the artists who work here—but last Friday, a painter who was juried into the Torpedo Factory only six weeks ago learned just how appreciative the public can be.

“A woman came in and was admiring my work,” explains McCain McMurray. “Then she started admiring my apron. She complimented me on it—and said she’d like to have it.”

After a brief and friendly negotiation over price—which included the purchase of a replacement at the Art League Store—the artist removed the paint-stained, three-year-old apron and bequeathed it to his happy visitor.

“She asked if I would sign it,” he says. “So I had a bunch of paint on my palette and got a palette knife and signed it. I told her it would take several days for the paint to dry, and to be careful because oil paint won’t come out if it gets on clothes. We folded it once, and she and her companion each took a side and headed off with her new treasure.”

Construction 4.5: Landing Strip

Other artists might have been bemused by such an introduction to our “working artists, open studios” concept, but as it turns out, McMurray has long had a unique insider’s perspective on the Torpedo Factory.

Construction 4.1: Tower

“As a young architect, I worked for Keyes Condon Florance, the architect of the building, and got to do some design work on it, as well as on the office building next door,” the artist recalls. “I remember doing a pre-design survey and going through the building when it was in its ‘homestead’ phase, when artists had claimed and delineated their own spaces with their own expedient—and usually artistic—materials.”

As McMurray settles in to his new digs, he’s basking in the light that streams into his studio and is excited to be working among fellow artists, but his chats with the public are quickly defining his time here.

“I love being here,” he says. “Since I’m subletting from Larry Morris, and his work is a big draw for adults and kids alike, it’s particularly fun to take kids behind the curtain to see Larry’s tools and machines. And, of course, it’s a real pleasure to sell my work—a pleasure I could use some more of.”

Meet McCain McMurray in studio 4 at the Torpedo Factory every Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and check out his painting online at

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