Courtesy of Will Tallent / The Paisano
Uncooked to perfection; raw natural talent.
RAW: Natural Born Artists is a non-profit organization that discovers and sponsors local talent and showcases their workin’ special exhibits. The organization stemmed from an online community for artists by artists who wanted to network and produce exhibits in various cities around the country. Founder Heidi Luerra launched the site based on her experiences of trying to make connections in the art world.
The purpose of RAW is to give artists a platform to promote their work. The exhibits follow a one-night-only program with an event occurring each month at a selected RAW city. Currently, the organization operates in 54 cities.
RAW events are strictly formal with a 21-and-up admission policy. Cocktails are served to guests as they mingle with the artists and the artwork.
This year, RAW is featuring San Antonio artists in a series of exhibits at Backstage Live. The most recent exhibit, which took place last Thursday, March 21, was titled “Generation” and featured UTSA printmaking student Sabrina Alfaro.
“I was following them on Facebook and I got an invite asking if I wanted to show my art, and it just went from there,” she said.
Alfaro joined over 25 artists for thecoveted spot at the “Raw: Generation” exhibit. Those featured in the exhibit includedphotographers, visual artists, fashion designers and multimedia artists.
Alfaro is currently working on her B.F.A. in new media and printmaking as well as working part-time at Digital Pro Lab, all while being a full-time mother. She also has an art and crafts line with homemade jewelry and hair accessories.
Her artwork is presented under the pseudonym “Paint Mistake,” which was inspired by Bright Eye’s song “Waste of Paint.” The clever name holds a special meaning for Alfaro. “I made the name when I was a sophomore in high school and it’s kind of stuck to me. I think it says that there are mistakes in making art.”
Most of the time Alfaro is in the printmaking lab perfecting her work. On this particular day, March 12, Alfarowas preparing some work before spring break, some of which that were shown atthe RAW exhibit. A radio played in the background while two students cleaned their workstations, Alfaro stood next to the students at her own desk as she worked on a print, which featured a depiction of a pregnant woman holding a beer bottle.
The print has a cartoon-ish perspective to it, but the message is clear. Alfaro describes the mother as a vessel forher child, even though her lack of judgment has prevented her from making wise choices. The theme was based on the idea of “transit” said Alfaro and what it means for mothers who are carrying their future children.
She grabbed another piece and explained how the image of today’s generation is related to the dependence we have on technology. The print, titled “Loca Amarrada” shows a group of young girls who appear to be neglected in the background while the mother-figure is taking a picture of herself on her smart phone.
The two children in the image shy away from the mother as she feeds her self-indulgent nature. The print addresses the need that culture has for capturing every moment on social media sites.
Alfaro says that her 3-year-old daughter enjoys her work but doesn’t grasp the feminist meaning behind the prints.
“I don’t think she really understands alot of it. Some of my work is visually exciting to her, but I do focus on feminism, your body and loving yourself.”
Alfaro’s artistic style is a mixture of playful themes often combined with serious overtones.
“I like the whimsical. I love cute stuff,” says Alfaro. “I still like to do serious, but humorous. It’s not too extreme.”
The majority of her pieces usually feature a woman figure as the subject, some of the classic Hollywood type and some that portray the modern woman trying to survive.
Her eccentric style makes Alfaro standout from other artists. As she explains the meaning behind the piece, one can’t help but notice her pink-striped top paired with snake-printed skinny jeans. Her hair sports a bleached hue, which she is preparing to dye a soft pink, and her arm reveals a freshly inked tattoo—a girl with bright pink hair dressed as Hello Kitty.
Alfaro also has a knack for creating Japanese-inspired jewelry. Her pieces include dainty plastic bows, flowers and Hello Kitty silhouettes. All very reminiscent of toys one had when he or she were younger. Alfaro also has a line of playful prints with creatures she imagined herself and photographs she took using a fish-eye lens, all of which include the Paint Mistake style of colorful, vibrant, cute and eye-catching subjects.
On her plans for the future, Alfaro hopes to do freelance work after she graduates or possibly work for a non-profit organization that’s rooted in the arts.
“I have so many different interests that I don’t even know what I’m going to do after I graduate, hopefully something where I make more than $9.00 an hour.”