Friendly Abstract

Ines Alvidres draws inspiration from heritage, home, friends

Ines Alvidres poses with some of her work, left, which will be on display at Finder’s Fayre Antiques, beginning April 4. ISSUE photo by Andy Coughlan

Ines Alvidres poses with some of her work, left, which will be on display at Finder’s Fayre Antiques, beginning April 4. ISSUE photo by Andy Coughlan

Ines Alvidres smiles.

So what’s the big deal, you may ask? Lots of people smile. But Ines smiles a lot and it’s contagious.

The 31-year old Mexico native creates bright paintings that reflect her personality — she describes her work as “Friendly Abstract.”

“I think the essence of my work will always be color,” she says. “I say that it is very colorful, Mexico-in-your-face, and happy — and when I finish that phrase, I always say, ‘When you see it, you will understand.”

The notion of abstract painting can be divisive, Ines says, people either love it or hate it.

“So if I can paint an abstract piece that somebody who hates abstracts says, ‘Ah, it’s friendly’ — it’s a way of introducing it,” she says.

On April 4, visitors will have the opportunity be introduced to her work at an exhibition at Finder’s Fayre Antiques.

Ines Alvidres' work draws on her Mexican heritage, with bright colors and intricate patterns etched into oil pastels. ISSUE photo by Andy Coughlan

Ines Alvidres’ work draws on her Mexican heritage, with bright colors and intricate patterns etched into oil pastels. ISSUE photo by Andy Coughlan

Ines’ work is ornately patterned, another trait which reflects her heritage, especially the Tarahumara, the indigenous peoples of Chihuaha. Many of her pieces involve covering panels with oil pastels which she then etches, removing the pastel to reveal the underpainting through detailed swirls and images.

Ines is as passionate about her town as she is about her work, crediting the people of Southeast Texas for inspiration.

“You find sense in life,” she says. “When you wake up, work, do things and just life goes on, when you find what you love from the very bottom of your heart and you create it, then you say, ‘This is what life is about.’ You find your purpose in life. And that is what happened with me with these magnificent people I met here in Beaumont.

“Beaumont sounds exciting to me now. People say to me, ‘I don’t understand,’ and I say, ‘Just wait.’

“A depressed person can be in the most exciting city in the world and they will be sad, so it’s not the town. It’s the eyes who are looking at it, it’s the feet that are walking in it — it’s not the town, it’s the person.”

Ines moved from Chihuahua, Mexico, in 2000, to Beaumont, where her parents lived in the 1970s.

“My older brother was already in the U.S. and we grew up very close,” she says. “It only took two years of being away from him for my parents to say, ‘We have to move back.”

Ines says her parents met in Southeast Texas.

“My father is from the north, Chihuahua, and she is from the south. They would never have met in Mexico, but they found each other in Beaumont, and that’s crazy, I think,” she says.

Although Ines says she is relatively new to the profession of art, she was always creative.

“I always knew that I liked color, but you are a young kid, you don’t know what art is,” she says. “Kindergarten was one of my favorite stages in school — the whole process of just creating and painting and coloring — that was the beginning. My teachers were always so encouraging, they were very supportive of anything I did as a little girl. They saw something I didn’t know I was going to be drawn to later.”

Ines credits her Central High School Spanish teacher for pushing her into art.

I had to take art,” she says. “My Spanish teacher, Miss Wall, she was just, “Ines, you have talent. You need to help me with the murals for the programs.’ And I said, ‘Yes, a group of us, we can do it.’ And she said, ‘No, I want you to do it.’”

Ines still has the mural she created for the Cinco de Mayo program.

“And nothing happened after that,” she says. “I think it took me really years and years until I encountered The Art Studio, and I met all these talented artists. It was everyone that did something. I remember thinking, ‘I like to paint, too, but I could never imagine me showing like they were doing it — but my life changed. My view of creating completely changed. That’s what made it, really.”

That was in 2011, the same year she met Homer Pilsbury.

“I like to mention him because he put Beaumont in a different place for me,” she says. “All the people that say Beaumont is not exciting, Homer showed me the exciting Beaumont from decades (ago), what it was and what it still is, and all the history we have. That really excited me about it — the music, the people he knew. And he really pushed me, ‘Let’s do Art in the Park in Orange, I will carry your paintings, get them in the car and I’ll drive you there.”

Pilsbury introduced Ines to Delle Bates and Tom Windham and other artists, and she soon found herself sharing ideas and working processes with them.

“These talented artists were telling me there was something there — that really blew me away, because I was inspired by their work,” she says.

As she continues to work and surround herself with artistic friends, the work continues to evolve and she finds ideas continue to develop.

“It’s just a matter of keep doing things so they can come out,” she says. “I think they are always in you, it’s just a matter of getting them out. When you do one, you are ready for the next stage and the next part of you, because you have layers.”

Tarahumara III by Ines Alvidres

Tarahumara III by Ines Alvidres

Ines has shown at Beaumont’s High Street Gallery and Port Arthur’s Texas Artist Museum. Her work is also available at Wine Styles in Beaumont.

“The openings are always a big party and I think it is a reward for all the work I go through,” she says.

Ines met Finder’s Fayre’s Dexter Augier around a decade ago, she says, and he gave her a book on how to be successful. Seven or eight years later, Augier went to the opening of the show at High Street Gallery. She says she was happy to see him and they discussed the story behind a piece and he decided to buy it.

“We completed the transaction and I said, ‘You know, I always remember the time you gave me this little book,’ and his eyes went, ‘Who are you? When did I give you that book?’ I said, ‘Do you remember giving me that book?’ and he said, ‘Oh, my god, it’s you.’ He had never connected the two girls. All the time I had been talking to him thinking he remembered me and he didn’t.”

Augier invited Ines to visit Finder’s Fayre to talk about a showing, but she didn’t for a year or two because she didn’t think she was ready, she says. But in April last year, she took the leap and they agreed on a date for the exhibit.

“Between last April and this, everything has changed in my life,” she says. “It is a year that has transformed who Ines is — for the better.

“I really do want to say how emotional and how inspired I have been in this town, and embrace what we are. There’s a group of us that are going to make this town a better place — and I’m ready, because the future looks really, really appetizing.”

Visitors to her show will find it is not only her abstracts that are “friendly” — the friendliest thing in the room will be the artist herself.

Finder’s Fayre is located in the Mildred Building on the corner of Calder and MLK Parkway in Beaumont. Ines Alvidres’ show will open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Andy Coughlan

ISSUE Editor