Francisco Alvarado: Luminous Work in Running With the Bulls

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Above, artist Francisco Alvarado. Below – another of his vibrant bulls. Note the abstract, almost collage-like quality, the depth, the dots and lines.

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Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Francisco Alvarado has found a physical home in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles, and a spiritual home in his art.

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Raised with an explorer’s eye and a passion for color and landscape, Alvarado calls himself “Lucky to travel with my father at a very early age. I used to explore the Amazon jungle…my father was also a bullfighter. No one sees a bull as happy, living a special life, running in the hills of South America and bred to be active. I try to show that in my work.”

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From bold bulls to beautiful, compellingly colored landscapes, Alvarado speaks with his colors, which he mixes himself. The inherent luminosity in his work comes in part from creating a transparent glaze which he layers in. There is a serene strength and poetic power in the artist’s approach.

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“You can add surface, build texture when painting with acrylic. For the most part the medium is flat, but you can add dots and lines,” he relates.

Alvarado tells his visual stories at times using digital technology, drawing with his mouse, using Apple Air to simulate painting. “I’m currently looking at land art, the drawings in Peru, the large spirals,” he notes.

Alvarado began making art by sketching his friends at the age of 6, and he moved on to create maps. Today his work in acrylic includes a series based on the characters in Don Quixote, images that are fragmented and abstract.

His evocative works tell stories. “I was influenced a lot by my grandmother, Esther. She was a wonderful story-teller who encouraged me to read. I’m an avid reader,” Alvarado explains. 

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“The story I’m trying to tell here is of lying in tall grass in green lush fields, looking up at the sky,” he notes. “In my imagination, I create happy pieces. I paint the experiences people have, I have – and where do they take you.”

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We saw this artist’s vibrant work in his “Running with the Bulls” at Art in the Arthouse held in Laemmle’s NoHo 7 Theater- a great space for an exhibition and talk.  “Running with the Bulls” has just completed it’s “run” through early May at the Laemmle. Look for Alvarado and his fresh, stirring work elsewhere around Los Angeles in the coming months.

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  • Genie Davis; Photos: Genie Davis


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