it is a style that sees the juxtaposition of these recognisable figurative pieces with audacious prints, because who doesn’t love a bit of camo?
A creative through and through, he comes at the world of art from a different viewpoint, “I consider myself to be more in the advertising industry than I really am in the art industry. I’ve been working as a creative for over 15 years – branding, concepting, shooting and designing for several brands and shops. I recently started a position as an Executive Creative Director for an agency in Miami which has tremendous potential for growth and big thinking.”
And when it comes to his audience, he’s currently showing his latest body of work, The Outsourced Series at Miami CONTEXT Art Miami but he lets us in to the fact that he doesn’t create work for a specific crowd. Instead he focuses on the lasting element of his pieces, “every single thing I touch in the studio is created with the idea in mind that I might end up living with it forever. I don’t actually live with my personal works, but if I did, I would need to be happy looking at them every day.”
When it comes to this body of work, it’s “modern reinterpretation of old master paintings using original oil paint and methods.” And we love it. In the words of Alva, “the series has become my very own MFA in Art History. It’s been in the works and under research for about three years, but this last year I really kicked it off. Aside from the painting itself, my favourite part has been these forced collaborations between dead masters that never would have happened back in those days. For example, “Sleeping with the Fishes” has Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh all in one.”
As for the process, he approaches it as he would an ad campaign, “Before even starting a series, I concept, sketch, create mockups, research the history, create, test and even think about how the works will be photographed.” He takes both a creative and pragmatic approach as he visualises every step of the process before he starts with it.
This particular body of work started with Alva approaching Oliver Cole with a “bunch of loose sketches, thoughts and print outs about this series” in January of this year, and he’s turning it into reality as it will be brought forth to CONTEXT with Oliver Cole Gallery, which is now on show. It’s been kept under wraps, so there’s a buzz to see more, “Besides my framer and a few confidantes, the works haven’t been seen by anyone. I’m looking forward to getting them out in the public eye and hearing the feedback.”
The final product and the names? Well, again we look to the masters (and the mafia) for his influence; Alva has a penchant for the classics in huge gold frames, and it reminds him of the flashy mafia homes, “I thought it only made sense to title the paintings after popular mafia phrases and slang terms. Most of my series are labelled with code words, and this one is no different. The camouflage pattern has been a recurring style I’ve used for the last eight years or so. It creates a window-like effect that each artist can appear and disappear in and out of.”
And looking to next year there’s more on the horizon for Alva, and he’s looking to the 3D realm, “I’ve started to work with marble and am looking at other ways to put a spin on the classics. I’m also planning a solo show in Europe this summer. “
See more from the creative here and catch him at CONTEXT until 8th December 2019.