Artist: Alvaro A.S.F
Exhibition: A Response to Classical Music
Media: Mixed Media, Music, Paint, Installation, Sculpture
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Werby Gallery
Website: N/A (in progress)
About the Artist
California State University, Long Beach is home to many talented artists on the rise. I was lucky enough to get to meet one of them this week. Arturo Alvaro, who also goes by Alvaro A.S.F., is an undergraduate here at CSULB. He is currently pursuing a BFA degree in the Sculpture Program at the School of Art. Since he was young, Alvaro had always been interested in art and knew that was something he wanted to pursue at a university in the future. With his BFA degree, Alvaro wishes to become a teacher and hopefully teach his students in a unique way that allows them to step out of their comfort zones and explore new art techniques instead of traditional ones. Aside from his piece, A Response to Classical Music, Alvaro mentioned that he has other works that fall within the same theme. He had even produced an overture piece with a sprained ankle after an accident, and that was when he realized that there were truly no obstacles for him when it came to his work.
Alvaro’s A Response to Classical Music installation contained numerous elements that all seemed to be intertwined. Two large tarps were laid on the floor of the gallery. One was white with buckets of white acrylic paint laying next to it, and the other black tarp was splattered with blues, yellows, pinks, greens and more. White pieces of clothing were placed on the white tarp, and a tray of mixed paints was placed on the other more colorful tarp. However, the colorful tarp had another interesting element, which was the twisted and jagged wire that held paint-splattered clothing. One of the walls of the gallery had a projected video playing of Alvaro painting and “responding” to the roaring sound of Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture. It was obvious that Alvaro was not following any sort of pattern in order to spread the vibrant paints around the tarp. He simply let his body take control, creating an irregular and uneven surface.
Alvaro makes it apparent that he was “responding” to Beethoven’s overture when he created this piece last year in the sculpting department at CSULB. In order to create an authentic response, Alvaro said he only got a few hours of sleep within three days. When asked what kinds of emotions he was feeling during the process of creating this piece, he said, “There were no emotions.” This shocked me a little because the video of him painting the tarp makes it seem like the process was really intense, and considering he got very little sleep, I assumed there would be more emotions. However, he went on to explain that when you get emotional, you tend to tune out the music. He said it is a response on its own, but he is responding to the “notations” of all that is going on. Alvaro also mentioned that he got his feet wet by taking a class in classical guitar, but he would not exactly call himself a musician. It is also evident that the two tarps were displayed in the installation how they were in order to portray a “before-and-after” element.
Synthesis / My Experience
From an outside perspective, Alvaro’s installation could seem like a lot to take in at first. From the music to the large tarps to the movement on the screen… However, once I dove in and learned more about the process behind the piece and more about Alvaro himself, I definitely understood and respected this piece a lot more. Everything ultimately connected, but one aspect that really stood out to me about the whole installation was the fact that Alvaro placed clothing into both the “before” and “after” sections. Of course, as a Fashion Merchandising major, I noticed that right away. To me, the clothes can say a lot about the meaning behind Alvaro’s piece because it can be seen as a representation of himself. He is putting himself into the piece in a way. I feel like the plain white clothes on the white tarp can represent how open and blank his mind was before diving into this project. It shows how vulnerable our minds can be before trying new things. For me, the paint splattered clothing can represent Alvaro after coming out of this new experience. The scattered colors on the second canvas could represent the chaos. I really enjoyed chatting with Alvaro after viewing his installation because I definitely felt like he got a lot out of creating this piece. I got the impression that he is extremely passionate about trying new things, stepping out of our boundaries, and doing things in unconventional ways. Our responses to those new experiences can lead to an amazing story.