Artist: Ana Alvarez
Exhibition: The Enchanted Borderlands
Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Instagram & Twitter: aadorisart
Ana Alvarez is a student in the School of Art’s Illustration/Animation program as a senior undergraduate. She wishes to create a show under Netflix and help tell a story through her character design and visual development. This exhibition was inspired by the combination between Western genre and Fantasy. While both of these genres are very popular individually, Ana’s team noticed that the genres were rarely ever combined. Thus, this exhibition was made. Ana is a big storyteller, wanting to influence those who are interested in her work. She also decided to scrap this work and create new characters, coming up with newer ideas.
Her artwork consists of character design and visual development of the surroundings. Most of her character designs are cartoons with round faces and intricate clothing pieces. A lot of detail is put into what they wear and the expressions that they give. In this particular artwork, small details such as pointed ears further emphasize the fantasy portion of their exhibition. For non-human-like characters, more details in coloring is put in to make them pop out. Most colors used are on the neutral palette to match the Western theme. For fantasy-related creatures, the colors become more bright. Overall, the nature of these animations pull the viewers in by combining aesthetically pleasing colors and using fine detail in the characters.
Again, this exhibition was created from an idea to combine two very popular genres – fantasy and the Wild West – because we don’t see these genres clash very often or at all. Ana worked on this because she wanted to work on the character development and their stories. Since she’s a big storyteller, she was happy to help create this whole new world. While this exhibition was not her idea initially, she still helps follow through with the planning and the aesthetics of the exhibition. Even though she doesn’t plan on continuing this idea, she has upcoming ideas for new characters. I learned that she wants to tell her stories to help people get through daily life and responsibilities but also teach them life lessons and morals as well.
This particular exhibition stood out to me because I’ve never really seen art dedicated to The West or western themes. The animations made it seem like something from fantasy, but the actual settings placed the characters in a western world. Personally, I thought the clash was very funny, and that’s why I decided to talk to the artists to find out the inspiration behind it. The nature of this exhibition made me feel very nostalgic of my childhood, but it also opened my eyes to a new theme of western art, which I’ve never really com in contact with. Overall, it was a good experience to look at fantasy in a different perspective.