At Home With… Lauryn Alvarez

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Lauryn Alvarez had been a photographer for years before the pandemic. When her subjects were no longer available, she turned to painting. “I just wanted a creative outlet that I could rely on myself,” Alvarez says. “Around that time, I was in a big growing stage and finding myself—you know how you do in your early 20s.” After sketching various shapes, she came up with the style she’s known for today.

 

What drew you to painting?

I grew up drawing as a kid, and I always enjoyed it, but personally I never thought I was that great. I just started sketching a lot and experimenting with watercolors, gouache paint, and colored pencil. I was inspired by a lot of Japanese style art. I didn’t take it too seriously. Then one day, the creative director for Thalia Surf saw a design (on Instagram) and wanted to put it on a T-shirt. We did a couple T-shirts, and I sold about eight original paintings in the shop. The day (the paintings) went live, they sold out. I was shocked because that was the first time I had sold big original paintings, and I was so nervous leading up to it. (Since then) I’ve done collaborations with Dark Seas, Seager, May Martin, and more.

What does your process look like?

I’ll either mock it up digitally on my iPad or (use) a sketchbook. Then I’ll come up with some color combinations on my iPad to finalize the idea. When I go to the canvas, sometimes I’ll work a little more candidly, and I won’t stick to the original plan that I had. But it’s nice for me to have a reference instead of going into the canvas blindly.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

How did you come up with the sun paintings?

That came out of nowhere. When I was drawing a lot, I would intuitively sketch out anything that came to my mind, and I would just draw a different shape and rework it. Looking back at my sketchbook, there’s a lot of trial and error and redrawing the same thing five or 10 times because I liked part of this shape, so I’d include that in the next iteration of the design. I have the original sun design that I did, which is crazy because that propelled me and is kind of my signature piece now, which is so cool.

What advice do you have for people who want to start painting?

I think it’s so important to love what you’re doing. As long as you are doing something authentic and true to yourself and you’re having fun doing it, inevitably something is going to come from that. People are going to relate to it, and they’re going to tell there’s truth behind your work. Believe in yourself and push through the hardest points of self-doubt or imposter syndrome—it’s OK to feel those things, just know it’s not true. There’s room for everyone to be a creative and show their work.

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