Artist: Alvaro Alvarez
Exhibition: A Response To Classical Music
Media: Paint, Canvas, Wires, Clothing
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Werby Gallery
Website: Alvaro currently does not have a website, but may make one.
Instagram: Alvaro does not have an Instagram, but may make one.
About the Artist
Alvaro Alvarez has just recently entered his first semester at the California State University of Long Beach. He is a student in the School of Art’s Sculpture Program and is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the hopes of becoming an art teacher for young children. Alvaro was born in Guatemala, but moved to the United States when he was eight years old. Alvaro has described art as being a part of his life since he was a kid. Despite this, his parents did not originally support him when he wanted to pursue art as his career, causing him to stop that pursuit. When a hobby or interest has been a part of someone for so long though, quitting it seems to be nearly impossible. Fortunately for Alvaro, that was the case. Art had been in his life for so long that he could not just simply let it go. He continued to pursue his passion, making his parents realize why art was so important to him. By fulfilling his dreams and becoming an art teacher, Alvaro wants to inspire kids to do whatever they want to do in life. He wants to teach kids to be free with their thinking and create ideas for their own art.
Alvaro’s piece, A Response To Classical Music, appears to be very messy and confusing at first glance. It consists of a large black canvas with random blotches of paint all over. On the canvas, there are wires bent at all sorts of different angles. Most of the wires protrude from or prop up different articles of clothing. There are a pair of jeans, one shoe, and a blue shirt on one side of the canvas. One corner of the canvas is also tucked into a white paint tub. Looking at the art piece, there appears to be no normal shapes or patterns. It seems to define the word spontaneous and is truly unique with the way it is presented. After walking into Alvaro’s gallery, a seven minute video from the projector plays which shows the students how he created his work of art. Students can see Alvaro dip his hands into paint along with other parts of his body and “dance” all over the canvas. Students can also hear the classical music of Beethoven’s Overture Fidelio playing while Alvaro is creating his art.
Many people may mistake Alvaro’s painting as a form of dancing. Alvaro himself does not describe it as a dance though. Instead, he simply describes it as his body responding to the music, hence the name, A Response To Classical Music. Alvaro chose classical music because he saw a lot of interesting patterns within the song and wanted to respond to it. He listens to all kinds of music, but classical music was something entirely new to him. Despite not knowing much about the type of music, he thought that it was powerful and unique so he wanted to try it out. Alvaro painted on the canvas wearing his every day clothes, stating that he wanted it to feel more truthful and sincere. He described his responses to the music as raw and full of energy. Despite only sleeping 3 hours every day for 3 days beforehand, Alvaro felt the need to only respond to the music in that moment, and not to the tiredness that loomed over him. After watching the video of his creation the first time around, Alvaro honestly thought that it was garbage. After watching it the second time, however, he was able to see the beauty and feel all of his own responses. Watching the video, some people may think that it was a performance. With a performance comes expectations though, and Alvaro did not want that for people. He wanted to express himself in his own way without having to follow a certain guideline or expectation. In doing that, he was able to create a work of art that is beautiful in its own way.
When I first walked into Alvaro’s gallery, I really did not know what I was looking at. I thought it was weird and I did not understand his art at all. Quite honestly, I thought he was kind of crazy. I considered leaving, but I saw a crowd form around someone outside so I joined them. It was none other than Alvaro himself. I do not know why I stayed, but I am really grateful that I did. Hearing Alvaro speak about his work was very inspiring and powerful. Listening to him explain his piece helped me better understand what he was trying to create. It helped me see his vision through his own eyes. After hearing about Alvaro’s backstory and his motivation for the art, I was able to realize why the art was so important to him. To him, it was not just a canvas with random paint on it. He was able to just let go of everything and respond to the music with meaning and emotion. Hearing how passionate and excited he was talking about his work made me appreciate it a lot more than I would have originally. I think this shows that art is not just the end product. Art is the experience, all of the preparation, and most importantly, the person behind it. With Alvaro’s help, I was able to understand his art and truly appreciate its unique beauty.
A picture of Alvaro’s piece (the ends are a little cut off).
A picture of myself with Alvaro.