We just had a chance to chat with Alvaro Arteaga about how he creates his pieces, his love for art and his recent Springfield Still Life piece. If you are a fan of Threadless you have more than likely seen one of his pieces over there! On with the interview!
When did you first realize you had a talent and passion for art and what drew you to it?
Well, I’ve been drawing since i can remember, but i guess it was since i became a teenager when i realized i could really draw and illustrate. The interest in art was developed during high school, when i started to read about art history, artists life, etc. The good thing is that I’ve always had a keen interest in art and graphic stuff, so it’s been easy to get involved and be passionate about projects that can take the “artsy” part of my brain.
Did you get a formal art education, and if so where did you go and how do you feel it shaped you as an artist?
I studied graphic design here in Vina del mar, Chile in the UVM School of Art & Design. I think that the things I learned there helped me becoming really focused on what i do, instead of becoming a “free spirit” that only does things whenever he feels to. Learning about deadlines, workflows and knowning how to interact with other designers/artits at work makes you a better and disciplined artist. The fact that i studied art history for 5 years in the university, developed a very good sense of what works and what doesn’t, from an artistic/visual point of view. If you don’t know anything about art, then i personally think it’s gonna be very hard for you to create something completely new. Your brain has to be filled with images, and a strong knowledge of the arts.
Are you an artist that needs to be in a particular mood when creating, or can you just design at any time?
Absolutley. I always try to create a good mood when i’m working, and that applies to my 9 to 5 job too. First of all, I like having a clean workspace. Having too much stuff around helps me getting distracted, so i try to have the least thing possible around. And second, I need to have some good music in order to work propperly. I’m a music fan, and simply can’t imagine a workspace without some great songs playing in the background. Keeps you uplifted, focused and lightens the mood in a very possitive way, And third, I gotta have food around, good food btw.
I absolutely love your Springfield Still Life design which is available on Threadless. Have you always been a big Simpsons fan and why did you decide to do a Simpsons piece?
I’ve been a fan since they first were put on air, and I’ve remained that way until today. The idea struck me at the last minute, one day before the Pop Life competition ended. I thought that if it was about portraying a cultural or Pop icon on a tee, i had to do some sort of an hommage to the world’s most known family.
What has been your favorite piece that you have done and what did you like most about it?
I’d have to say it’s “Murphy’s Law”. I just love that design. They way it started as a simple skecth and was perfected by the suggestions that a lot of bloggers made in Threadless was simply amazing. I love the idea, the details, colors, etc. I’m very very pleased with how it came out finally.
Do you have any prints or artwork for sale?
No i don’t at the moment.
Who are some artists that inspired you or that you looked up to over the years?
The Argentinian artist Quino, Salvador Dalí, Sam keith, the artwork inspired from all the Tolkien books, Maurice Sendak, old books illustrations and things like that.
If someone wanted to hire you for a project are you available and how can they contact you?
Well, i’ve been trying to find a job in the States for almost a year now, but being in Chile complicates the legal stuff a bit. Yeah I’m available for working there or for any other interesting project. They can checkout my site www.alvarejo.com, there you can find my contact info.