By Monica Morones

Every time 20 year old artist Bennie Alvarez, from Thermal, posts a new picture of his art, I’m intrigued.   Raw, emotive, and clever is what I get from his pieces and when I’m around him I see his artistic nature and how smart he is.  A lot of his pieces have a profound message and touch on his everyday experiences and I see a young, thriving artist breaking through with his own style and his own outlook on the trends and culture happening today.

MM:  How did you get into art?

BA:  I got into art when I was young and troubled and I would get sent to my room as a punishment a lot.  I grew up poor but there was always some form or canvas and medium.  I would use anything from nail polish to paint and even chalk to draw.

MM:  What would you describe as your style?

BA:  My style is clean and chameleon like, simple and not to crazy, also trendy.  I try not to stick to one style, it bores me.

MM:  Did you go to school or are you self-taught and what are your thoughts about that?

BA:  I only took art in High School but I was making art way before then.  I didn’t really want to paint but my high school teacher Mrs. Long made me and I was good at it so I ran with it.  I want to eventually get into an art school but I don’t see that happening soon unfortunately.

MM:  What is your biggest struggle as an artist?

BA:  My biggest struggle as an artist is sitting down and painting. I have to be in the mood or else it doesn’t come out how I want it to.

MM:  What is your favorite medium?

BA:  Acrylic paint, it’s very versatile and forgiving.

MM:  What do you think of the art scene in the Coachella Valley? Do you think it supports up and coming artists?

BA:  I don’t really know about the art scene here.  I did have my art in a gallery in Palm Springs by a couple of now good friends Marnie and Melissa and have shown my work through Raices Cultura’s Day of the Dead event.

MM:  Who are some of your favorite artists whose work you admire?

BA:  Some of my favorite artists are Aly Michael Ferrante.  I love her style so much, it’s very appealing to the eye.  Gustavo Rimada’s art makes me want to paint.  He gives me hope that I can get even better and surpass myself.  Nancy Ramirez is an artist I went to high school with.  She inspired me while we were in art class at CVHS.  I pretty much admire all artisst that are making something and putting it out for people to see.  It’s a very vulnerable thing to do, you have to grow tough skin as an artist I think.

MM:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

BA:  I see myself out of the Coachella Valley in the art scene in L.A. or San Diego, somewhere slightly cooler.

MM:  What is the root of your inspiration?

BA:  The root of my inspiration comes from the people I’m around and also making people happy or laugh or cry tears of joy with my art, which has happened twice.  It’s a very weird, happy feeling which I enjoy a lot.

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