Wk 3 – Artist Conversation – Alvaro Alvarez Salazar

Exhibition Information

Artist: Alvaro Alvarez Salazar
ExhibitionA Response to Classical Music
Media: Music, Paint, Camera, Clothing, Wires
Gallery: CSULB School of Art
Website: N/A (In progress)
Email: arturo830@gmail.com (for business inquiries)

About the Artist

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet a young and upcoming artist, Alvaro Alvarez Salazar. Salazar is an undergraduate student currently enrolled in our School of Art’s Art History program. Salazar was kind enough to open up a little about his past to us. He came from Guatemala at the young age of 8 and was able to learn [and master] the English language. He is also the first person in his family to continue his educational career into the university level. Moreover, he gives credit to music for providing inspiration through his difficult, yet inspiring endeavor. His artwork explores ideas in the mind’s responses to music.

Formal Analysis

The displayed artwork, “A Response to Classical Music,” was a unique piece utilizing paint, classical music, and a cloth canvas. In this project, created last year, he is in a classroom located in the sculpting department that he had borrowed from his professor. Salazar is accompanied by Beethoven’s classical overture and paint. The piece itself consists of numerous colors with no distinct patterns or shapes. The base (the canvas) seemed to be painted by himself and only the top part is in black. Aside from the cloth and paint, there are also wires holding up the outfit he was wearing whilst working on the project: paint-covered pants, belt, his left shoe, and a towel. There is also a clean bucket laying down on the corner of the piece. Rather than staccato, his finished piece shows many legato movements. On the side, there is the other pieces of his outfit, paints, and cloths.

On the opposite side of the gallery room, he has a new canvas. The top is white, the clothes and shoes are also clean and unused. The cloths, tray, and buckets are new.IMG_9734.JPG

Content Analysis

His completed art piece is his mind and body’s reaction to the music. There are no emotions involved as he completely clears his mind of any distractions. He goes into a trance-like reaction whilst listening to Beethoven’s concerto and is focused on creating through response. Through the seven-minute video, viewers can see his 72 hour process. Many might think that his piece is a dance or a performance, but Salazar denies this. He sternly states that it is a response to the music. He had gone through many genres and music, but ultimately chose classical music to “respond to” for this project. He says that this generation is one that is surrounded by music, but classical is a genre that many are unaccustomed to. Through this project, he wants to explore and respond to classical music while letting the music itself tell a story.

Synthesis / My Experience

I think that Mr. Salazar is such a unique artist. He is able to completely let go of his self and create artwork. During the whole time of talking to him and listening him talk, I can tell the passion and determination he had for his work. Salazar told us a story that, I think, shows his dedication to his artwork: When he was at Long Beach City College, he had the idea for a project. However, he ended up spraining an ankle very badly; to the point of his classmates/co-workers telling him to postpone or to cancel the project. He said no and went to do the project himself despite his injury. Many people I know would not continue a project due to injuries, yet he overcame his injury and did not let it prevent him from doing what he truly enjoys.

He also stated that he was in no way a dancer or musician, yet he chose to  incorporate both into his works as his mediums. I have heard of many other artists similar to him, but actually being able to see the work up close and talk to the artist is a truly enlightening experience. Also, as someone who enjoys playing music, dancing, and art, being able to combine all three art forms into one is truly amazing to me.

In conclusion, I had the privilege of being able to meet new and rising artist, Alvaro Alvarez Salazar and gain insight on his thought processes behind his art work.


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