Colorblindness, discovered at age 11, is a big part of Carlos Cesar Alves’ story. But it’s really just a hook that compels people to stop and look more closely at the amazing color and depth the Brazilian-born and now Pompano Beach resident’s work holds.
After a stint as a priest and years working in corporate finance, Alves and his art have taken off — he’s got a new studio and has exhibited in more than 70 shows. (In case you were wondering, he labels his paints so he knows what color he’s using.)
Alves has “series” names for his art. We asked him questions inspired by four.
What does friendship mean to you?
Friendship for me is something that is made in heaven. Friends sometimes know more about you than your own family. On my Friends series, though, the friendship is represented as the artwork being my best friends. I can say that I have a lot of friends who are really close and know me as I really am. I have a lot of friends completely connected and active in the LGBT community, and doing great contributions to our group.
Your artwork clearly has dimension. What’s your process like?
The Dimensions series reflects my connection with the universe, with the cosmos. I normally pray and bless my artwork before I start working. It is a ritual that for me opens the channels and connects me with the cosmos. However, when I work on this series I also ask permission to the universe to allow me to go to different dimensions and see the other side. What normally happens is that I start seeing flashes [and] images and my hands literally start reproducing the images that I am seeing there. At this moment I can say that I am connected with the universe and that I am really painting. I always say that my Dimensions series are images of a parallel universe that really exists, and I can see it and touch it. These pieces normally take from three to six months.
Do you consider yourself moody?
I paint basically emotions. I am a self-taught artist. I never took an art class in my life. Everything I paint comes from my heart. I am a very passionate and emotional person. Sometimes too much. And on top of that, my sign is Aries, which is the most passionate sign of the zodiac. Everything I do, I do with a lot of passion. I am not afraid to say that I would not feel that I am living if my life was not filled with a lot of emotions.
Vanishing Faces series
This series started with face drawings as far back as kindergarten. How important is the sense of where you came from?
For me, an artist, or any other person that does not have a sense [of] where they came from, it is a person without structure. Whatever your story would be, you should never deny or try to erase [it]. Those life stories made the person that you are today, and nothing will change that. I am extremely proud of the place where I came from, proud of the family I have, proud of the friends I made, and proud of having all that as part of my history.
More is at carloscesaralves.com.