Monday, July 11, 2016
Artist Alvin Christopher shares his passion through his art
Alvin Christopher takes a passion for social justice and channels it into dynamic mixed media art which reminds viewers of how fragile life can be and the importance of treasuring each moment. His dapper appearance belies the struggles of his life.
“…since I was a child…since I can remember picking up a pencil,” he answers, when asked how long he’s been creating images. He considers his ease with art to be a gift from his mother, who encouraged his earliest attempts. He hasn’t stopped since then, honing his skills and experimenting with a variety of forms.
A first look at Christopher’s work demands a second one. The compelling images seem to deliver news headlines, as he offers thought-provoking depictions of natural and human-made issues. From his horizontal 3-dimensional depiction of the damage wrought on the Interstate 10 twin span by Hurricane Katrina, to the biology lesson of the words we keep in our heart, Christopher pulls no punches in expressing the pain he has personally experienced and his anger at the pain endured by others.
His love of mixed media leads him to take things which are not typically considered artistic and turn them into imaginative displays of highly artistic content, recycling found items into finished products with the addition of more traditional art media. While no photograph can do justice to his work, the powerful images beg for repetitive, reflective study. Within each piece, a heartbeat of truth grabs the viewer and demands consideration. With bold colors and startling images, Christopher brings people of all races and perspectives to a common table of humanity.
Ask a viewer to interpret a given piece and the answer may be shockingly different from your own. Each of the images opens doors to dialogues and discussions of freedom, rights and circumstances. Christopher lays his own heart bare in his work and invites viewers to do the same as they relate to each piece. He refuses to be pigeonholed on a single subject, preferring to use his art to walk on dangerous ground with bold ideas designed to make viewers uncomfortable in complacency.
Christopher is more than an artist creating strong images. He is also a mentor, reaching out to people marginalized by society and encouraging them to identify their own artistic voice. He also works on commission for custom pieces.
He was born in Mississippi, grew up in New Orleans in the Irish Channel neighborhood and now makes his home in Slidell, LA. Art moved from a hobby to a vocation after the turmoil of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He hopes to eventually branch out into multimedia work, including film. Supplementing his art income as a cook, he brings an artistic touch to his dishes, as well.
At present, Alvin Christopher’s work is on display at Artists’ Galleries de Juneau at 2143 First St. in the Olde Towne section of Slidell; Connie’s Depot off of Brownswitch, also in Slidell; and a few other small shops in the community. His art deserves a home in private collections and corporate spaces. This isn’t “pretty” art to hang on a wall and ignore; this is art at its most powerful, demanding involvement and action.