Alvin Pagdanganan Gregorio
Check out the multifaceted, vibrant work of Alvin Pagdanganan who splits his time between Los Angeles, CA, and Boulder, CO. His practice spans drawing and painting, installation, and new media. More at the links below!
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Tell me a little bit about you!
My parents in immigrated from the Philippines into Los Angeles before I was born. I grew up in and around the Greater Los Angeles area. I am currently based part time in Boulder, CO and North Orange County, CA. Traveling back and forth each week.
I am currently an Art Practices Professor at the University of CO Boulder. Received an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. I think my thickest training came from having a wide range of experiences at a young age. Both globally, traveling often to the Philippines. Being a kid who wasn't scared of being adventurous or had friends that were masters of persuasion. Being a runaways throughout different times of our youth. And enjoying being a bit of a trouble maker in my own way. Having developed a deep relationship with material and colors and techniques that are just a vehicle for all the rich textures, vibrations, colors and temperatures of all the stories, in the most raw and primal ways, as well as the subtly stunning.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I always tinkered and made fantastical magical gadgets that were fueled by hopes and dreams of a kid. And I realized through college that there's a way to live life in this way. Playful. Creative. Adventure seeking. One thing les to another and now I'm laid to make and talk about art. I feel so very blessed.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
I've always been interested in a number of recurring themes as far back as I can remember. Unconditional love, transgenerational violence/trauma, PTSD, village/tribe connectedness, domestication, ferality, holistic thinking. Changed over the last few years, I think a lot about growing older, how amazing youth was in all it's ups and downs. And death or aging. I've had some health issues that gave me a little glimpse of scared shot, so I'm a bit more urgent even pertaining to leisure or inactivity.
What is your process like?
My research is mainly and intentionally trying to pay close attention to daily things that could potentially be profound. Asking way too many questions. And working at staying curious and open.
Work ranges from a week or a few, all the way thru a year or two. Sometimes finding newness on older unresolved work.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I have many mentors. Across all aspects of my life that can and do enter into the studio practice. My advice: Study yourself like your life depends on it. Find what fulfills you, excites you and brings you at peace. Know what you won't stand for or do once, or for a living. And put yourself where those citizens and deal makers are. And study it all. All of it. And it all starts to bleed together and it's a lifestyle rather than a career choice. It's a life's work rather than a day job. Have a vision and then make a to do list. Eatery day.
Describe your studio.: I have about a solo 500 sq ft industrial studio on the UCBoulder campus, in the Visial Arts Complex. And when I'm in SoCal. I work in my garage and at the dining room table with my boy.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
Frustrating? I think as me and my friends get older, there weren't too many jobs located at the heart of the field. Too many friends, and I had a couple decades of this myself, have to work too far from their creative selves. In jobs that paid just enough to make it the decision between eating and paying rent or not. So as we get older and or responsibilities expand, we have less and less time to hangout. Cause everyone's piecing together jobs and ways to make an income. As they have kids now. And are sometimes married with mortgages. So that's hard to see.
I think what's frustrating but rewarding about pursuing art as a major component of your life...
Is that it needs to be all inclusive. A life's philosophy. A deeply felt. A life that is creative inspired and poetic. So that takes work. A lot of energy and resources.
If you could sit down for dinner or a drink with anyone, who would it be and what would you chat about?
Ghandi while he was fasting and I would fast too. For dinner. And prepping before. I'm questing when you haven't eaten you're probably your rawest self and have very efficient and clear communication.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Resonance of War
What do you do when you find yourself in a creative rut?
Collaborate with someone I'm inspired by. My portfolio is probably 25-33% collabs
What do you love most about your medium? What challenges or surprises you most about it?
Drawing is my jam. Nice rich pigmented colored pencils that you can smear and blur and also drawing tinybtight lines. Challenges, I think carpentry is hard for me because I have difficulty measuring. And I use a lot of found, old wood. So it's often wonky shaped. But I love to make rudimentary wooden forms. So, so ewhay begrudgingly, my woodworking is improving. Although I find ways not to make the end result too slick or showy.
What do you need or value most as an artist?
Time and space to process life, so that the work can be a bit more clear, even in its abstractness.
What keeps you creating?
I get grumpy if I'm not tinkering in the studio.
What are you working on right now?
Shelves/Alters that speak about our mortality. Our hopes for good health. And deep connections. With humans, animals, plants, rocks, and all living things.
Anything else you would like to add?
This was fun. I haven't done something like this in ages.
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