I’m Alvaro – very nice to meet you. Usually at this point I have to cordially clarify how to pronounce my name, which is followed by a surprised reaction from others when they learn that my last name is Alvarez. My full name is Alvaro Andres Alvarez Bustamante and I am a visual artist. Born in San Diego, CA and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, I identify as a “Border Boy,” meaning my way of life is completely intertwined on both sides of the US-Mexico wall, like millions around here.
I founded my art studio during the most memorable year in recent history, 2020, and though I planned on opening up my practice prior to the pandemic, I didn’t want to use the contagion as an excuse not to. My binational art practice is strongly influenced by architectural representation, neuroscience in design, and hospitality story-telling. These three concepts are very dear to me given my past experiences, personal identity, and goal in life; which is to freely create art with passion and integrity.
Image: Alvaro Alvarez, Deep Boundaries – Chaos
Sepia Ink on 140 lb paper, 20″ x 16″
Living under the seductive sunlight of San Diego for many years, I am inspired by the interplay of color and light in both the natural world (sunset, rainbow, dappled forest light) and in man-made environments (spotlights, reflection off a building, neon signs). I am fascinated by how light affects the way we see, feel, and perceive our surroundings. The complex relationship among color, light, and form is the focus of my artwork, which spans abstract paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations. Every work starts with experimenting or what I like to call “playing” in the studio by both stimulating my curiosity and challenging my understanding. I take materials that reflect, refract or bend light in my hands, and carefully observe their interactions under various lighting conditions.
Some experiments result in paintings or drawings that attempt to capture a particular radiance, some develop into three-dimensional objects whose form and surface emerge through direct engagement with the surrounding light, and others evolve as site-specific installations where viewers are invited to experience the spatial and temporal effect of light from multiple perspectives and at different times of the day. My work brings to light what is all around us in our everyday life yet often taken for granted, reminding us to contemplate the wonders of light through our perceptual process that makes us who we are.
Image: Tabiji #2. Oil on Canvas, 36x25x3