LUIS ALVAREZ ROURE
“When I paint, I become a composer myself: I have the power to subtract or to add, to finish or leave unfinished. I am creating an interpretation of my subject, which makes it unique and truly mine."
Luis Alvarez Roure (b.1976) was born and raised in Puerto Rico. A self-taught artist at first, he remembers doing meticulous realist drawings of people since a very early age. Even though his parents encouraged him to take drawing lessons, he declined fearing it could make him lose his interest. He describes his childhood as a happy one making art and playing the piano. As he grew up, he became serious about his musical studies and after graduating from high school he went on to study piano performance abandoning drawing almost completely.
In 2016, Alvarez Roure had the opportunity to paint Philip Glass. The painting was acquired by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. in 2018 and it’s going to be exhibited for the first time now in November 15th until the last day of August 2020. Another memorable experience in Alvarez' career was to have been selected as one of the 46 finalists of the prestigious 2019 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition to exhibit also at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. The day of the opening, he recalls having the opportunity to speak with the great American filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who told Luis, he was deeply moved by his painting "Hidden Wounds." A memory Alvarez says, will cherish with great honor.
Alvarez transmits a sense of tranquility. The detailed expressions transport you to a story that does not need to be told in order to be understood. All that is necessary is a simple glance at the image and you will be captivated by the intricate details, exquisite colors and a depth of expressions.
Through his art, Alvarez offers us a world of feelings and hopes. And one can only wish for a
Q. What role does the artist have in society?
A. To make other people’s lives more beautiful and meaningful.
Q. What’s your best childhood memory?
A. Spending my summers at my grandmother's house by the countryside of the Island drawing all day long.
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. An artist.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. One of the first things I remember as a good drawing of mine (for my age, of course) was a copy of a
crowned Christ pictured my grandmother had in her bedroom. I still have that drawing. I was around
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. I was always serious about art, but it wasn't after moving to NYC that I experienced art in a whole
different level. I started visiting art galleries and museums almost obsessively, especially the
Metropolitan Museum of Art. This experience made me feel the urge to get back to my childhood
passion for drawing and to look into studying painting seriously. By the end of my graduate degree
(in music), I enrolled at the Art Students League of New York with the late Nelson Shanks.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. I was always interested in representational art. I consider myself a contemporary realist.
Even though I follow many of the traditions of the old masters, it is important to me that my work represents a time ahead of theirs.
Q. What does your art aim to express?
A. My vision. My interpretation of the world.
Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
A. I am a bit distracted sometimes.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. Spending more time with my wife and kids.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. I love so many artists from Holbein to Rubens to Velazquez and Caravaggio. But I feel more
identified with the "bravura" painters like, Singer Sargent, Boldini, Zorn and Sorolla.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. The artistic life is lonely when you are in your studio.
On the other hand, I've had the opportunity to meet so many incredible and wonderful people that I wouldn't have otherwise. I feel pretty grateful for that.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. Music. I love playing the piano. Spending time with my children.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. To do it only if you really have passion for it.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. It depends. The most obvious answer would be to make a living out of what you love to do.
Still, I think Van Gogh succeeded at it.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. Life is bigger than art.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. Not to waste time regretting what you could have done or didn't achieve in the past, but instead to think what can you do from now on to achieve what you want. Told by my piano teacher.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. To be genuine.
Q. How would you like to be identified and remembered?
A. As an artist. As a good one.