Andrea Alvin paints still lifes. She captures a moment, a piece of nostalgia, or a remembrance. Her work evokes the feelings that “I remember having that,” or “that was my favorite…”
Growing up in Fresno California, the daughter of a beautician and a cattleman, with a standard poodle for a pet, it’s no wonder that a sense of humor permeates her work. Spending blazing hot summers in a chlorine- induced haze, with a Popsicle in one hand and a pencil and paper in the other, she began her art career at an early age. “ For as long as I can remember, I knew I would be an artist.”
Alvin graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. The orientation at Art Center towards advertising, product photography and illustration, has had a great influence on her choice of subject matter as a painter. Meeting the artist Robert Cottingham during her last year at Art Center, introduced her to photo-realism as a painting style. (He was an advertising man turned painter and is arguably one of the great American photo-realists.)
After graduation, she immediately began working as an animation designer and animator. She contributed creatively to many national and regional commercials such as Tootsie Roll, Chicken of the Sea, Six Flags, and numerous films for The Children’s' Television Network. She later produced and directed three films for the Electricity exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry
Following the birth of her daughter, Alvin began exhibiting her unique art in various galleries and venues throughout California. In 1989 she joined ranks with her husband, internationally renowned illustrator, John Alvin, creating their own design and illustration studio that specializes in key art for movie posters. Andrea Alvin has contributed substantially to the creation of ad campaigns for such movies as: Batman Returns and Batman Forever for Warner Bros., and Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules and The Little Mermaid for Disney Studios. She is also known for the cover art for the MCA/Universal Classic videos of the Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Claudette Colbert and Cecil B. DeMille collections.
Her subjects are very American – post-war, baby-boomer, middle-class American. It’s not apple pie, but Oreo cookies and Necco Wafers as cultural and historical icons that a 60 year old and a 20 year old can reminisce about. Alvin says, “I love the idea of everyday objects or products, taken beyond the magazine, billboard or TV ad, and lovingly glorified and idealized.” There is a human presence in all of her works - a bite out of the cookie, a torn wrapper, and a glass of milk waiting to be drunk.
Regardless of the subject matter, and her adherence to realism, these are works of art and must stand on the merits of art. Alvin designs the composition as if it were a study in color and form. She has the ability to combine abstraction and representation. She has a painterly style not expected from one who paints realism. At close range, the paint and brush strokes are very evident, but devolve photographically when viewed from a distance. Andrea Alvin’s art eludes categorization in the same moment that it drives home indelible and familiar icons. The final effect is intensely personal to the viewer and yet broadly reminiscent of an era that binds us irrevocably together.