By: Felicity Carter
“I STUDIED GRAPHIC DESIGN AND FELL IN LOVE WITH ITS HISTORY AND HOW OVERLOOKED IT IS IN THIS WORLD.”
- DAN ALVA
Is it Photoshopped? Isn’t it photoshopped? Well, you’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth, Dan Alva’s work is all paint. Think a very contemporary amalgamation of masters with resolute prints in the form of camo and graphic stripes for artwork that exudes both style and substance. And he’s brought out The Outsourced Series was just featured in CONTEXT Art Miami with the Oliver Cole gallery, we hear more from the Miami-based creative.
YOU'RE SHOWING AT CONTEXT WITH OLIVER COLE GALLERY - HOW DID THAT PARTNERSHIP COME ABOUT?
The Outsourced Series is a modern reinterpretation of old master paintings using original oil paint and methods. 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.
In January I approached Oliver Cole with a bunch of loose sketches, thoughts and print outs about The Outsourced Series. It was basically my brain dumped on paper. We honed in on the idea, improved it, and only focused on these paintings all year. They are now the feature works for this year’s CONTEXT Art Fair December 3-8 in Miami for Art Basel.
SUM UP YOUR STYLE IN A SENTENCE...
Clean and raw.
WHICH ARTISTS RESONATE WITH YOU THE MOST AND WHY?
I have always looked up to artists like Dan Colen and Damian Hirst– known for being the bad boys of the art world. I like conceptual work more, and how to spin an everyday object or concept into something new. This last year I actually invited Hirst to my wedding to see if he would bite on the invitation. Still waiting on my gift.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PRODUCE EACH PIECE?
Each of these works takes about three to four months to bring to life. My process in the studio is similar to any ad campaign I have ever worked on. Before even starting a series, I concept, sketch, mockup, research, test and even think about how the works will be photographed. I need to visualize every step of the process before actually starting the process.
WHAT'S THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PATTERN AND PAINTING?
I studied graphic design and fell in love with its history and how overlooked it is in this world. I always get the “Is it Photoshoped?” comment when it comes to The Outsourced Series. I do start in photoshop to line up the paintings and make certain parts appear and disappear. But the output is 100% oil top to bottom just like the classics. Almost every painting I’ve made has another 10 versions that I killed before I landed on the final look. The camo is a pattern that appears in a lot of my works – I love its history in design and its original use.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR 2020?
To bring this latest series into the 3D world. 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.
WHAT IS THE END GAME FOR YOU?
I tell every buyer that one day I will buy the work back – they always look at me like I am crazy. I don’t paint for buyers, collectors or likes. Selfishly I want it all, and it’s not easy parting with work knowing you might never see it again. Ideally, I want to be 80 years old and still be able to look at pieces I did early on.
Words by: Felicity Carter
Images by: Michael Russell
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