Chris Alvarez grew up on the edge between alpine forests and southwest desert in the small town of Silver City, New Mexico. He began to draw after watching his cousin copy magazine pictures, and his artistic eye thrived in the magical light of his environment.
Chris's path to art diverged when he took advice given with good intention and tried to find work "to fall back on," just in case art didn't work out. He experimented, finding some success in bartending, working with at-risk youth, and, in 1988, as an ophthalmic assistant in the US Army. Though Chris found all of these experiences valuable in his ability to teach and know Life, art never stopped calling.
In 1997, Alvarez decided to become a professional artist. He signed up for classes at what is now the Cottonwood Center for the Arts, where he studied under school founders, Sparky LeBold and Chuck Mardosz. He grew in skill and control through workshops taught by nationally-known artists Skip Whitcomb, Matt Smith, Mary Dolf Wood, Eric Michaels, and Kim English.
Chris was one of the first Cottonwood students to become an instructor, in 2002. He also taught drawing for five years at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where he earned a BA in fine art, with distinction, in 2001.
Alvarez's work has won several awards, such as Plein Air Magazine's grand prize at the Paint Historic Manitou Springs Paintout in 2005, and the grand prize at the Victor Celebrates the Arts Paintout in 2002.
Chris Alvarez teaches drawing and painting at the The Alvarez Art School