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Dan Alva

Miami
Can you tell me a bit about yourself? You’re in Miami now; are you from there originally?
Yes, born and raised. I was in New York for a few years, but I’m back for good. The city as a whole is an inspiration. Outsiders think of Miami as just South Beach, but there is a completely different world over the bridge. That’s the real Miami.
I’m really interested in your tie-in to branding and your experience in advertising. Can you tell me a bit about what led you to that field and how it has influenced your personal work?
I’ve been working as an Art Director for over 12 years. Advertising has played a big role in my life, and I have a love/hate relationship with the business. My personal work has become an outlet to visually create whatever I want.
Do you find them to be at odds with one another at all, or are they mostly complementary?
It is ironic, but I do pull cues from both sides. Working with film directors and shooting countless TV spots has helped me develop a deeper knowledge of cameras, lighting, and overall composition.
What is your studio like?
The studio is located in Wynwood, an up and coming art district in Miami. The space itself is a large, crude warehouse where I can get messy. It’s more of a workshop than a clean white space. I share it with my copywriter from work who builds furniture. There are all kinds of projects going on at the same time. What I create there, I show at Avant Gallery, who I recently started working with.

What is your process like? Do you plan much in advance, or are you more spontaneous?
I usually mock everything up digitally before-hand. I like to see what the final outcome could be, and then work from there. For the Brandalism series, I’m taking back other brands’ advertisements and exploding acrylic spray cans onto the ads, then let the paint knock out the type. The hardest part is actually “acquiring” these ads from the street.
What do you feel has been the most fulfilling aspect of pursuing fine art in addition to design/advertising?
As a creative in the advertising world, ideas get watered down from time to time. The original concept rarely ends up being the final product. In the studio I have full creative control. It’s on me to make my vision come to life.
Text by Kate Mothes for www.yngspc.com