Andrea Alvin


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.

Alvin graduated from the renowned Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles (now Pasadena,) CA. Her career began in animation as a layout 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 worked as a layout artist at Hanna Barbera for several years.

In 1989 she joined forces with her husband, noted illustrator John Alvin, creating their own design and illustration studio that specialized advertising for major motion pictures, creating movie posters for many well known films. Andrea contributed to the ad campaigns for such movies as: Batman Returns and Batman Forever for Warner Bros; Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules and The Little Mermaid for Disney Studios. She and John co-illustrated many books for Disney Publishing and created a series of original illustrated labels for Disney consumer products for food lines made by Kelloggs, Coke, Sunkist and many others.

Andrea’s fine art painting career started in 1980 and continued through her varied commercial career. In 2003 she moved to New York’s Hudson Valley and began painting full time. Her work has been featured in galleries throughout the United States and abroad.

“I love the idea of everyday objects and products, taken beyond the magazine, billboard or TV ad and lovingly glorified and idealized,” she has said of her concentration on postwar, Baby Boomer, middle-class American subjects such as Oreo cookies, Necco Wafers and other iconic items, humanized through consumptive evidence: a bite here, a spill there… “The final effect is intensely personal to the viewer and yet broadly reminiscent of an era that binds us irrevocably together… “ Her strongly composed work has been described as having a style located somewhere between19th-century Impressionism and more modern Photorealism.


Nostalgia and realism are two words that are relative to my art.  My education and much of my work experience was in film and advertising, so I have been drawn to subjects that are part of our popular culture.  I am a graduate of Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, now of Pasadena, California.  My career began as an animation designer working on television commercials and later partnered with my husband John Alvin to form a design and illustration studio creating key art and marketing campaigns for major motion pictures.  I have been painting and showing my fine art work since the 1980’s.

My goal is to bring the viewer into the painting by evoking a sense of recognition and emotion, bringing them to a warm, fuzzy place.  Although the work resolves to an almost photographic image, I am actually quite painterly in my style.  I set up and light most of my subjects and work from my photographs.  the lighting and depth of field from the photographic reference help me to create a mood.  That mood is what sets my work apart from other realist painting similar subjects.

I began painting interior scenes, editing through the camera lens, capturing the scene as it was left by the humans who inhabited the area.  These paintings are a kind of portrait, documenting the person’s life by what was left behind.  Nostalgia comes into play, when we look at these paintings and see the moment in time that was captured and the products and artifacts that may or may not be around anymore.  Other subjects I have explored have been candy, snack foods and toys.  If the subject resonates with me and brings me back to that familiar place, then I know I have to paint it.  Many of these items were around when I was a kid, and are still popular today.  We all seem to have a special place in our memory for these things no matter what era we grew up in.  I try to elevate their status and make a beautiful painting out of the ordinary.  I am drawn to ethereal light, reflections and surface textures.

Primarily, my paintings are oil on canvas.  I like going to flea markets and garage sales to find subjects for my work.  Sometimes I see something that would make a great painting and take pictures on the spot.  Otherwise, I do a photo shoot with my subjects.  I use a combination of natural light and studio spots.  The Hostess snack cakes were placed on depression glass plates which refracted the light in an unusual way.  Often I will use a reflective surface or extra harsh lighting to get the effect that I want.  I do a very detailed drawing on the canvas and begin painting.


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