Andrew Alba

You May Find Yourself
May 6, 2022
Andrew Alba

Tell us a little about yourself and your current work.

I was born and raised in Utah most of my life. I’ve been painting and drawing ever since I can remember, but started to take it seriously about 11 yrs ago while I was living in Oregon.  My current work is mainly focusing on portraits and flower arrangements. I don’t typically question what I am being drawn to paint at the moment, I find this often adds a level of anxiety to my process which stunts the work and my progress. I usually have some sort of idea as to why I am painting certain things, but the big answers don’t come to me until months or even years later when I look back at the work with the context of where my life was at during that particular moment.




How is your process and work integral to you, your environment, your community?

The process for me is the most important aspect of my work. This is something that has taken me years to figure out. It is something completely individual for each artist. For me it feels something like walking on a tight rope with contradicting ideas on both sides. Ugliness and beauty, Truth and Lies, death and life, painting for myself or painting to communicate something to the viewer. Figuring out my own process has required intuitive thinking and trust in the work. I try to separate myself from the paintings as much as possible while at the same time pour my whole self into it. I like surprises and mistakes and learning how to work around these things and have a certain level of trust in the work taking care of itself. I typically try to avoid making a painting where I see too much of a reflection of myself in it. 




What are you experimenting with in these new works? Is there symbolism or meaning behind certain aspects included in the new works?

At this moment in painting I am trying to stay away from symbolism and messages in the work. Im not opposed to messages in work but in the recent past I have realized that I have no control over how the viewer interprets the work. Certain paintings in the past have been interpreted in a twisted sense or celebrated when I didnt feel like the subject was something to celebrate. 


So at this time in my process I am attempting to make work that simply exists with no message other than the fact that something has been created and now exists in the world and I believe if done right, it can have a stronger impact then any message that I am trying to send. No one questions or looks for answers as to why a flower grows, it simply exists and that to me is very powerful.





In 2021, you were working on a series of Buendía Family Portraits based on Gabriel García Márquez’s magical realist novel 'One Hundred Years of Solitude.' For this exhibition, you are including your own family portraits. Do you draw any similarities between the two series, or what led you from the Buendía family to your own? 

The Buendia family will be an ongoing series for a while, not sure if there was any correlation between moving from that to my family. I have recognized patterns in my process of working with very limited palettes and flat application of paint like with the Buendía series and moving into something afterwards with thick paint and a lot of colors. Seeing this transition isnt surprising for me and now once again I am moving back into a limited materials type of process with simple drawings on paper.


Is there significance to the double eyes motif in your portraits?

The eyes in my portraits have always been the most important piece that completes the work. I typically start off the painting with multiple eyes in different locations to see what best captures the mood and feelings of the person I am painting. With this series, I decided to leave all the possibilities of the locations. I feel like it is a more accurate depiction of the complexities of emotions that we carry. I think it is beautiful that we can do this, to feel joy and sadness at the same time along with other contradicting emotions. I feel like eyes carry the emotions that we see in people at any moment.



Have other MW artists in this exhibition influenced your work?

I'm sure they have in some way. There are alot of wonderful artists in this exhibition with a lot to say. It's always inspiring to listen to them speak about their individual process and work.


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