Culture » Visual Arts

Chris Alvarez finds beauty in the seemingly unattractive


Chris Alvarez doesn’t paint a scene just because it’s beautiful. Sure, he’ll enjoy it, but that doesn’t mean he wants to commit it to oil and canvas.

“One of the main [focuses] of my work is to find [and express] interest and beauty in seemingly uninteresting and unattractive scenes,” he says. By his reckoning, the 56-year-old artist is best known for painting street scenes and old cars.

“The most important thing to me is not so much the subject as the arrangement and the composition,” he says. Alvarez has been doing art since he was a kid, growing up in Silver City, New Mexico. After joining the Army at 27, Alvarez was stationed at Fort Carson, and he’s been here ever since.

He earned a BA in Fine Art from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, though he says most of his arts education comes from training with artists such as Sparky LeBold and Chuck Mardosz.
“I took every figure drawing class at Cottonwood when it was just a one-room art school,” he says. He picked up oil painting under Mardosz, who runs Mardosz Fine Art downtown.

“[Oil painting is] so versatile for creating so many effects. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had with art,” he says.

Alvarez started teaching at UCCS in 2002, heading its beginning drawing class for five years. He’s been teaching ever since, currently operating the Alvarez Art School in Old Colorado City.

“[Teaching] really helps me to be able to articulate the process and to understand it. That helps me deepen my understanding of the process,” he says. “I don’t think I’d be as good an artist as I am if I didn’t teach.”

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