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The Curious Characters of Alma Juarez

November 4, 2009

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With an appreciation for all things peculiar, Alma Juarez’s point of view is a curious one. With characters from all different backgrounds, she is able to capture a fascinating weight to each of them. No matter what medium she’s using, every character she chooses feels like they have a life outside of the piece. They are people who have a history behind them.

A couple weeks ago I was able to talk with Alma about her work and get a glimpse into the history behind her.

Justin Miyamoto: Hi, Alma! How are you doing today? Did you do anything interesting over the weekend?
Alma Juarez: Hi! I’m doing well. Yeah! I started my weekend by getting free potatoes, then moved on to getting mooned, then seeing Abraham Lincoln hanging out with Scarlett O’Hara and at some point I was surrounded by hippies and zombies, but not at the same time.

JM: Sounds like the life of an artist to me! Let’s get right into your art. You have been doing a lot of ink work lately that has an amazing line quality and craftsmanship. How long have you been drawing and what is your educational background?
AJ: Thanks! well, I always liked to draw when I was a kid but I wasn’t serious about art until after high school, even though I always took art classes. I have taken art and photo classes at College of the Canyons and I have been at Art Center College of Design as an illustration major for two years.

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JM: Could you tell us a little about your style and what you’re trying to achieve as an artist?
AJ: At the moment I’m really into simplifying shapes without compromising form and really giving detail to what I want the viewer to focus on, what is most important. Whether I’m photographing, painting, or drawing I want to show my subjects for who they are, to show emotion, to reveal something about them that isn’t obvious to the people around them. I don’t want my work to be just another portrait. I want the viewer to know what the subject is feeling and develop a story about the person.

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JM: Your work definitely has a lot of emotion and very intriguing characters. I am interested in what inspires these amazing characters. What and who are some of your inspirations?
AJ: I’m inspired by people. I find human behavior very interesting; the way people carry themselves, their body language, how they interact with one another; I like to see the point when a person lets their guard down and just lets herself or himself be.

JM: Who are the artists you are most influenced by?
AJ: There are a ton of artists that I’m influenced by but the ones that I keep in mind more regularly are, Aubrey Beardsley, Alan Cober, Jenny Saville, Janis Joplin, Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon, to name a few.

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JM: What are your goals and plans for the future? What direction in your work would you like to go?
AJ: I would love to be a gallery artist, but I am also interested in other branches. I want to try to do editorial work, with my drawing and my photography. Do magazines, CD covers, all that fun stuff.

JM: Well Alma, thanks for talking with me this week! And thank you for sharing your art with us.
AJ: Thank you Justin, it was fun.

To see more of Alma Juarez’s fascinating portraits and some interesting studies she’s done, check out her portfolio at almajuarezart.com.

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