Michael Alvarez Paintings

Aunt Helen, oil, spray paint, and paper on panel, 48" x 48"

I read Juztapoz art mag to learn about artists I might not normally encounter. It's lively and blessedly free of jargon. It's based in LA and covers a lot of West Coast artists, including many who skew toward the pop or street or skate boarding side of things. My favorite feature in the new issue is an interview with Michael Alvarez of Northeast LA, whose paintings are crazy good. The more I look at them, the more I want to learn. He doesn't really have a huge web presence at the moment, which suggests his profile still has a long ways it can rise, which it should. Here's his website.

He often incorporates spray paint into his oils, which gives them a pleasantly fuzzy look, though I wouldn't say the spray paint is the dominant factor. The paintings are very social, based in community life, and come across as a mix of realism and surrealism. Exhibit A: that really big baby. And I'm including the kid at the bottom because he echoes William Merritt Chase's "The Leader," which I featured here last year. Except "the leader" wasn't wearing high heels.

In the Juztapoz interview, which was conducted by Austin McManus, Alvarez explains: "Trying to process information, sometimes a lot of it at once, combined with the distortion of perception can kind of feel hallucinatory. At least it feels that way to me, and that's a feeling I want to convey." This conjures a poetic aura. The paintings are quite large, which must increase the impact in person.

Celebration of a Large Baby, oil, spray paint, and pencil on canvas, 60" x 48"

Neighborhood Watch, mixed media on panel, 72" x 96"

I'm the Boss, oil and spray paint on panel, 48" x 48"


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