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TRAHC Presents Every Day: Photography by Alex Chavez
Photographer finds beauty in the ‘Every Day’
By: Aaron Brand - Texarkana Gazette
A new exhibit at the Regional Arts Center highlights how one local photographer finds beauty in the sea of commonplace imagery we swim through every day.
Alex Chavez’s exhibit is titled “Every Day,” providing a clue to his artistic aim. Citing top color photographers William Eggleston and Fred Herzog as influences, he believes photographers show the world how they see the world. He wants to portray everyday beauty in life and nature and positively change the world.
“I believe that creative people have the ability to change the way we see the world,” he wrote in his artist’s statement.
Chavez, a native of Mexico who came to the U.S. as a youngster and now lives in Hope, Ark., studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he’s working toward a studio fine art degree with an illustration emphasis.
How did Chavez get involved in art? He attributes it to chance. In 11th grade, he took a couple of art classes. He wanted to be an optometrist, but art did something for him. He developed an appreciation for photography and its power.
“Photography is just creation,” he said. It captures beauty. It’s nature. Even artificial things like a building and its lighting become part of nature, he believes. He pays attention to nature’s color range. Color, influenced by his native country, is important to his art, and his black-and-white photographs tend to tell more of a story, he said.
“We forget sometimes that we capture moments. It’s crazy with photography: We actually capture moments in time,” Chavez said.
Photographs such as “EZ,” “American Beauty” and “Holidays” capture stark signage against a building backdrop. There’s something simple and mysterious in his work. A photo such as “Man on Fire” depicts one person, nearly invisible, caught in a streetscape, seeming to merge with it like a shadow can, sunlight bursting on the horizon at the background behind him.
In addition to photography, Chavez practices lettering art.
“I want to understand every medium possible. That’s a big saying, but I’m really passionate about learning as much as I can in the sense of art, because I believe the more you know, the more ability you have to express your creativity in any of these mediums,” he said.
Filmmaking, clay work, watercolors, sculptures, illustration and animation are other areas he channels with his art. He loves vintage signage and graffiti—hence the interest in lettering. He respects arts such as calligraphy. “Every stroke to them is an action,” he said.
Count him as one of those people inspired by downtown Texarkana. His artistic eye feels an affinity for places others may overlook.
“There’s a lot of beautiful places here in Texarkana. Sometimes we don’t see them, we don’t actually recognize them. There are tremendously beautiful places here,” Chavez said.
Speaking of changing the world in a positive way, he’s interested in holding photography workshops for children. “I believe that them being able to express their creativity is very essential for their development, having something for them to aspire to… It’s key to development,” Chavez said. He’s taught art workshops in Hope for English as a Second Language students.
Chavez also professes interest in connecting with the local arts community. The city’s beautiful, he says. “We have to go out and look for it, appreciate it,” he said.
See more of his art at axcz20.squarespace.com and instagram.com/axcz20, as well as in person at the RAC.
(“Every Day—Photography by Alex Chavez” runs through Jan. 24. Admission is free. The Regional Arts Center is at 321 W. 4th St. in Texarkana, Texas. It’s open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. More information: 903-792-8681 or TRAHC.org.)
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