Irene Alvarez, artist

Irene Alvarez has developed an innovative artistic style which embraces numerous design techniques: sculpture, clothing, tapestry, jewellery. Her pop and neo-ethnic aesthetic play with our cultural references. Her interdisciplinary practice bares witness to the fruitful collaborations between fashion and contemporary art.
Irene Alvarez, you have worked with the Audaxtextiel Museum and the RA13 concept-store in Antwerp. How do you describe your production process? 

I started working with the Audaxtextiel Museum laboratory in 2009 after I was asked to create an artwork for Ra13. The commissioned piece was a metaphoric altar composed of a sculpture in relief and a carpet entitled Inti Altar. This was my first approach to textile and its process of production. I have now gained quite some experience in the weaving department. The possibilities are infinite so narrowing these to the creating process is fundamental.
How do you choose the materials and fabrics for creating your artworks?

Tapestry is like a handmade digital image, it is pixelated, no brush marks. Working through the vertical warp threads, deciding how each yarn will cross the warp to make the whole image complete. In my latest works I have given great importance to the drawings and the concept. Turn Me Op is a series of tapestries inspired by optical illusions, for this reason it was very important to use reflecting yarns such as viscose, as well as glittery ones like lurex. Combining these two with acrylic yarns which are matte gave me an amazing contrast creating a holographic effect.
l also very much like the ToTem T-shirts you created for aLabelby, which you presented alongside a modern tipi at Hunting and Collecting in Brussels in 2011. What is your relationship with the fashion industry?
Living in Antwerp for six years has given me the chance to meet amazing fashion designers, there is an incredible talent concentrated in such a small city. I collaborated with Mic Eaton, formerly known as Material Boy, making a series of illustration for T-shirts, and have participated in several showrooms in RA in Paris showing textile artworks as well. I think I made a product which has had a great response from the fashion industry because of the materials used, even though it has nothing to do with fashion. Principally, I have made illustrations that I have translated into textile to obtain a unique finish, very much stimulated by the Pre-Colombian textiles and their graphics.
Irene Rodriguez participated with her collective “Say Hi” in the JustMad art fair in Madrid from the 14th to the 17th of February 2013 during the My First Just and Forever Tonight programmes.
www.irene-alvarez.com
sayhigallery.tumblr.com
Irene Alvarez, Intialtar
Inti Altar, polyurethane, transparent polyester resin, wood, markers, cotton. Relief sculpture: 2,80 x 3,20m, woven carpet: 3,00 x 3,38 x 2,40 x 0,60m
Irene Alvarez, Turn me Op, Mickey
Turn me Op, tapestry series in collaboration with the Audax Textielmuseum, 1,65 x 2,00m
Irene Alvarez, Totem Tshirts
ToTem T-shirts, in collaboration with aLabelby, Hunting & Collecting, Brussels
Irene Alvarez, Typee carpet
Irene Alvarez, Typee carpet
Typee/carpet, illustration on woven fabric, reversible, Acrylic, filling and mohair, 1,65m diameter x 1,85m height
All pictures © Irene Alvarez