First a photographer, sketcher and physicist later, Pedro Diego Alvarado could not distance himself from the environment of painters that has surrounded him from birth. For over a decade how, he has been dedicated to creating art that can express his own language.
In the studio of Gilbert Aveces Navarro, Alvarado learned the freedom of and taste for painting, something he would also find by working alongside José González Casanova, Mario Reyes and Armando Morales. Cartier-Bresson and Cézanne would be the ultimate authors in the formation of his work.
"The first approach that I had to the work of Cartier-Bresson was in my grandmother’s house. She met him in 1934 and had a catalogue of his drawings that I saw and that interested me very much. I decided to go to France for two months, but instead I remained there for two years. I met Cartier-Bresson and began to draw. Those were the training years.”
Pedro Diego recalls that upon his return to Mexico he worked in the studio of Ricardo Martinez, where he would complete work (1982-1983) for his first public exhibition. It was a series of still lifes, a theme that he has worked on since, along with landscapes.
"I have been interested in going back to the sources of painting since the very beginning. It’s not that I am not interested in new art, but we must go back to the origins in order for there to be an evolution. Alvarado refers to the work developed by Paul Cezanne based on this idea: "Modern art really began with Cézanne because he was the first to break from away from academism and to search for a perspective that did not obey its laws but rather those of perception, of how a painter sees things. He was the one to set the foundation for that freedom. And this point of departure has influenced me.
"So, all my work has really been an intense effort to return to the sources of painting. To explain this I always make an analogy between painting and music: If someone wants to learn to play the piano, first they must have one and then they must practice for fifteen or twenty years. Then, if they want to be composers, they must first lean the laws of composition.
"With painting it’s the same; after learning perspective, drawing and color theory and handling them, one can acquire a certain freedom to do want they want. In other words, I must learn the craft if I am to become an artist”.
With over 15 years of drawing and painting, Pedro Diego Alvarado believes he still has much to do before exhibiting in a museum. "I believe that to exhibit a very solid, concrete group of work I need to be working for at least 25 years”.
-What do you mean by concrete group of work?
-To have your own language and a personal way of seeing the world. I don’t know right now where my work is headed: there have been changes, that’s true, but they are small, in composition, color. I believe that to have an exhibition in an important museum there has to be a group of work, with at least twenty years of experience.
-Is this an experimentation period then?
-I think we are all experimenting. We are searching for ourselves. It’s not like the past century when there were workshop and a piece of art was shared with others and also something done on commission. No, artwork now is something more personal and therefore more intimate.
Pedro Diego Alvarado, heir to a pictorial tradition that refuses to succumb and that he compares to a pendulum that has reached the other side and must now fall back to its origins, has his first retrospective planned for April 1997. He will travel through several European countries including Germany, Spain and France.
Another of his long-term projects is to exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico.
Recently, Pedro Diego Alvarado donated one his pieces to the F.A.I. or Fundación de Apoyo Infantil (Foundation for the Support of Children), that was auctioned off along with the artwork of other renown artists to gather funds for the programs of this organization offers aid to Mexican children.