Alejandra Atarés

Working with oils, acrylics and collage, Alejandra Atarés draws on diverse references from pop music and film to found imagery, to create enigmatic and vibrant portraiture and psychedelic landscapes...

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"Japonesa Roja". Oil and acrylic on linen, 114x146 cm, 2017.

Describe your work in one sentence...

Persuasive, fresh and explosive, meticulous.

What first sparked your interest in painting—and what is it about the form that inspires you?

I have painted ever since I was a child. I am influenced by everything around me: personal experiences, travels, conversations with friends, dresses, fabrics and prints, Rihanna’s concerts, Miley Cyrus’ outfits, music videos by Katy Perry, films like Grease and the work of other painters. All of this comes together to appear in my pictures.

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"Carlota debajo del agua". Oil, acrylic, spangle and holographic paper on linen, 114x146cm, 2013.

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" Garden II". Oil, acrylic and collage on linen, 170x300cm, 2016.

Describe your working process to us: how do you go about creating a painting, from concept development to the finished piece?


In terms of my subjects, on one hand I often paint people who are very close to me—family and friends. On the other hand, famous pop stars as Rihanna, Katy Perry, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan...I also create my own characters and sometimes I make self-portraits.

The backgrounds I create are sometimes inspired by pictures I take during my journeys, though sometimes I find them on the internet. Often they are a juxtaposition of all these different elements. The patterns and the texture of the outfit says everything about the identity of the character in each painting. Meanwhile, the backgrounds pretend to explain a particular moment of his or her life.

The exhibition I present this month in Madrid is a response to the trip to Japan I took with my brother last year. The final paintings are based on the photographs I took with my cellphone of landscapes, and the Japanese women with their precious kimonos.

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"Japonesa con montañas". Oil, acrylic, and gold enamel on linen, 114x146cm, 2017.

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"Japonesa con kimono espigado". Oil and acrylic on linen, 114x146cm, 2017.

You’ve studied in Spain, the UK and the USA—how has the experience of living and studying in different countries influenced your practice?


Studying outside your home town, and if you can, outside your country, is vital for an artist. It enriches you on all levels. On a personal level, this includes all the experiences, travel, people and getting to know other cultures. Academically, what you learn at your college is fine, but don’t believe everything you’re told. Each person is a world, and everyone has a different opinion about what ART is, as well as their own personal formula for working. The most important thing is to find yourself. Find your formula and what you think, learning not just from one person but from many.

What inspired your portraits series, and in particular the decision to depict your subjects from the back?

These paintings represent a combination of a few factors. As a student, I started collecting pictures of my family and friends. Somehow I always felt attracted by those with the back turned to the viewer. These early paintings have a very melancholy feel, very romanticized. Later on, these portraits became my excuse to investigate different possibilities.

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" Garden I". Oil, acrylic and collage on linen, 170x300cm, 2016.

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" Garden I" detail. Oil, acrylic and collage on linen, 170x300cm, 2016.

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"Winter Landscape", 2017.

As well as paint, you often use elements of collage and embellishment in your work. How did this way of working develop?


Each painting tells a different story or experience, which can be more or less of a fantasy. I treat my paintings as if it they were a short story or film.

Who are your heroes?

I deeply admire female painters like Francesca di Mattio, Rosson Crow and Beatiz Milhazes. But lately I have also discovered charismatic painters like Luiz Zerbini, Dan Attoe and Adrian Ghenie.

What are your ambitions for the future, and what’s next for you?

I have solo exhibiton at Galeria Jorge Alcolea in Madrid, from February 20th to March 20th 2017, and who knows whats will happen after that. What I am totally sure of is that I would love to continue developing my work.

alejandraatares.com

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"AUTUMN". Oil and acylic on linen, 114x146cm, 2016.

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"Golden Wall". Oil, acrylic and enamel on linen, 170x200cm, 2016.

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"SPRING I". Oil and acrylic on linen, 114x146 cm, 2015.