Week 3 Artist Conversation Alvaro A.S.F
Artist: Alavro Alvarez Salazar Fall, aka: Alvaro A. S. F
Exhibition: A Response to Classical Music
Media: Video camera, Music, Paint, Canvas
Gallery: CSULB School of Art; Marilyn Werby Gallery
Website: Not Available
Instagram: In Progress (A group of us influenced him to get an Instagram, hopefully he does!)
About the artist:
Alvaro Alvarez Salazar is a CSULB transfer student who is pursuing a degree in school of art. He is the first in his family to attend a university. His parents are from Guatemala and he came to the United States when he was 8 years old. As a young child and teen he always considered himself to be a bit “weird” as he always focused on artistic aspects of life. Alvaro would like to become a teacher after he graduates from CSULB but is still not sure what level of age he would like to teach. His installation A Response to Classical Music is his first at CSULB as well as his first semester.
Alvaro’s piece A Response to Classical Music took place in the Marilyn Werby gallery. It took up the entire gallery space. When you enter the room you stepped into a bare walls gallery lit only by a projector image and natural light from outdoors. To the left of the entrance, the east side, there was a white canvas tarp on the floor that had white empty paint cans (small and large), a white paint tray, and two white articles of clothing. Everything was white except on the bottom left corner Alvaro added a black paint tray that had dry dark colored paint that seemed to have been used in the making of his art piece. He added this because he noticed that in comparison to the other side of the room, the white clashed with the color. So this colorful tray brought the installation back to equilibrium. When you turn to the right and see the North wall, you see a square speaker and paint splattered push cart. The push cart has a projector, a laptop that has his paint splattered shoe on the keyboard, multiple multicolor paint gallons and small tarps all used to create his colorful canvas. The projector is projecting Alvaro’s video on the south wall. The video being projected is Alvaro’s response to the classical music that is playing in the background. The classical music playing is Beethoven Overture Fedelio. In the video you see that Alvaro lets his body respond to the music however he feels it while at the same time reaching and grabbing paint from different trays and angles around him. By doing so, he begins to paint the black canvass on the floor. In the video Alavro does slow movements that lead up to erratic quick jolts that correlate to his response to the classical piece playing. The video is about 7 minutes long and its end result is an extremely colorful paint covered canvas as well as Alvaro himself. On the eastern wall you see Alvaro’s colorful canvas on the floor. It is full of crazy patterns of turquoise, yellow, white, pink and other colorful paint. To the right corner of the canvas Alvaro added a piece of wired steel that is partially holding up is splattered painted pants, shirt, and other shoe. Alvaro said he added this because he did not want the piece to feel so flat. He wanted for some part of the installation to come up at the viewers.
When I first walked into the gallery and saw this I liked it right away. I thought it was very cool how there was someone expressing himself to music. I really thought that Alvaro was dancing his way to the beat of the orchestra and was adding paint in a certain planned out form. But, when I read Alvaro’s insert and spoke to him about his piece, I realized that I was not entirely correct. First of all Alvaro never said that this was his emotions to the music. Alvaro said it was his response; he was very fond of that word as he kept saying it over and over. Alvaro said that the piece shows his response to the right there and then. Since this was a one take project, Alvaro wanted whatever happened in his response to stay in his video without editing. After seeing his video he said that he did not like it. He watched it once and then put it away to focus on cleaning up. He was not happy with it, but after a few days he re-watched the video and said that he thought it was raw and beautiful. It was after a few others had seen his video that he started to grow fond of it. His initial presentation of this piece is that there are no expectations, that it is just a response and in the moment. I asked Alvaro what type of dance he was doing in the video because I saw a lot of break dancing moves. He laughed and said that although he did take a modern dance class and he had seen break dancing videos in the past; there was no formal choreography it was only his response to the classical piece.
I hold music to be very important on my list so when I saw this installation I really enjoyed it. I honestly thought Alvaro was expressing how he felt but I think he wanted to be a bit more disconnected to his emotions when doing his painting. I think he sees responses and emotions as two different things. Regardless if it was an emotional piece of not I still really liked it. I think that Alvaro lost himself in the music and whether he calls it a response or I say emotions I think there’s this type of trans that music, and in this case classical music, can bring over a person. I too find myself getting lost with music sometimes and I feel exactly how Alvaro moved in the video. After hearing that he spent 3 days back to back on this project with very little sleep I liked it even more because it showed passion and exhaustion and hard work. That tiredness and dedication came out in the movements he painted with and the consistency of the paint patterns. I think that whenever we look at someone’s response to something it can either be exactly like yours or complete opposite. I think Alavaro did a good job in showing how this piece of music made him respond to the moment, and I hope that others find similarities to him as I did. I really enjoyed his piece and sincerely wish him the best; I hope to see lot ore of him at CSULB and beyond.