Thinkspace is proud to present IndigNation featuring new works by Brazilian born and Los Angeles-based artist Alvaro Naddeo.
Naddeo is interested in the study of castaway objects and the subtle graphic nuances of urban detritus gleaned from the city sphere, the artist combines its textures and edges in compositional amalgams. His interest in the life of the unassuming object extends to billboards and signage, cast away containers and boxes, and domestic and industrial spaces, conjoined and superimposed in unexpected mashups, or cultural relics that speak of use and disposal in the contemporary city.
In anticipation of IndigNation our interview with Naddeo explores his love of watercolors, the process of composing a piece, and the motivation derived from seeing beautiful work.
What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?
The inspiration behind this latest body of work is the political place that our society finds itself at. It’s about our present days and the marginalized, the minorities, the revolt and the voices that need to be heard.
How do you approach your compositions? Is there usually a central object that inspires the piece, or does a collection of source material come together and determine the direction?
I approach my compositions sometimes with a central object as a starting point, like the shopping cart or a file cabinet and some other times I approach it as a “collage” of elements that share something in common, like a specific decade for example, or a specific personality.
What piece challenged you most in this body of work and why?
None of the pieces on this show were more challenging than the others, I believe that the larger bigger pieces are the ones that are more challenging for me, I need to spend more time with them and I may end up losing some of the excitement over it. Bigger pieces for me are like a 4 hour movie, even the best movies if they last too long you wish them to be over. Having learned that, I chose doing what brings me more joy, so I stayed with medium pieces that I can finish while still being entertained and excited about them.
When working, what are you listening to in the background?
I have a couple of good playlists that I keep repeating and also a lot of podcasts. More podcasts than music.
What aspects of watercolors make them your favorite medium to work with?
The organic aspect of it is what excites me the most about watercolor, the big range of effects you can get just by dosing differently the amount of water you mix with. You can go from extreme control to chaos and randomness. That’s what I love the most. I like that it dries relatively fast, I like it’s bright colors. Even watercolor’s worst aspect, which is the fact that you can’t redo or paint it over ends up having a good side to it. It forces me to be careful, to take it seriously and to always move forward, if I don’t like something I’ll do better on the next one. I can’t endlessly work on an area or painting.
When viewing other artists’ work, what elements get you excited or inspire you?
I enjoy seeing great art work a lot, it deeply excites me and motivates me. I see something beautiful and I wanna do something beautiful, my version of something beautiful. I come from the advertising world where there is a lot of competitiveness and envy and I love how different the artworld is, at least the artworld I see. I only find encouragement and motivation from other artists and from seeing other artists’ work.
If you could download any skill or subject into your brain, Matrix style, what would it be?
Skateboarding. I’m so bad at it.
Who is the first artist or work of art that made a significant impression on you?
Frank Frazzetta and Norman Rockweel, those were some of my dad’s favorites and the ones I probably saw first.
We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – What is your approach to life during this time?
Personally, I have had worse days, so I don’t complain much now. I hope everyone can stay healthy, this will be over someday. I hope we learn something and change for the better.
If your work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and the name of the pint?
It would be the Moo-lotov, made with Milk (for the moo), corn (for the pop) and rum for the explosion.