Painter. Mosaic Muralist. Teacher.
Vanessa Alvarado has had a career in the arts for 17 years, creating public art in the form of tile mosaic murals with ALMA, a non-profit she co-founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2011 she received her BFA in Studio Art: Painting at the University of New Mexico. She was born, raised, and lives in the South Valley of Albuquerque. In addition to working for ALMA, she also works as a full-time art and SEL high school teacher who has her own ceramic earrings business and was also the Art Director for the South Valley Marigold Parade for four years. Her first love was painting and she is now allowing herself to indulge in it again. She believes that art is the perfect vehicle for teaching, uniting, and healing. Healing is a personal focus in her oil paintings because she believes if we cannot heal ourselves, how can we ever hope to help heal others.
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with my weight. Being Mexican American, I have felt like I was part of two cultures that held a certain canon of ideal expectations for the female form; none of which I fit into. Like so many people, I have experienced sizeist bigotry, unwarranted comments on my body, and have felt like my body is against me in many ways. I have felt powerless and trapped in my own skin. I feel like I am shedding that skin and coming into a skin that is full of power and confidence. Some people find my work shocking or uncomfortable to look at but I like this reaction because it gives them a taste of the discomfort I have felt in my own body, my entire life. My paintings are my attempt at moving into a place of self-compassion, love, and appreciation; all of which I hope for my viewers. I am essentially trying to transfer my great love for oil painting into a part of my life that I was never able to love: my body.