Immersive color, the freedom of stroke, and texture. These are just a few blurbs that come to mind when I find myself glued to a piece by Alan Deloera. He finds ways to hide little Easter eggs in every piece. After months of hanging his work and walking by the same pieces I've found myself coming back over and over again to find little discoveries hidden in plain sight. What was just a gesture in a quick stroke of effort, quickly turns a blue spike into a mystical river leading you throughout the mural until you get lost in the rest of Alans galaxy. Alan is one of the first artist in residency at BY.Everyone and has made his impact by creating a warm atmosphere for our patrons to stroll through our space with comfort and curiosity. In his blooming career we have been able to watch him grow as his collaborative style has allowed us to be as involved in his process as we want to be. Paving the way for our first addition of BY._____.
Our goal with this new series is to work with artists of all kinds and continue to bridge the gap between the different mediums. From writers and musicians to painters and designers we want to create a space for collaboration, discovery, and growth.
I sat in conversation with Alan for awhile in our studio space and gave him the keys for 24 hours to paint whatever he wanted on our roughly 12 foot by 10 foot studio backdrop. Here's what happened.
Let's just hop right into it, how are you? Could you give us your full name, age and where you're from?
My name is Alan Deloera, I'm 20 and I'm from Oklahoma. I'm pretty good, right now pretty good. I'm excited for my next artworks that I'm boutta do.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I'm not working on anything I'm just taking a break but once I move into my new place and have my new studio it's gonna be crazy. My new space is like, up on the roof outside. So it'll be a cool little view.
I feel like any time I see recordings of you or little instagram clips I see that you're working outside. Do you find it easier to focus outdoors? I think for me I always find the best inspiration there.
That's definitely where I'm at my best. It's the elements that give me inspiration. All the elements of nature. The sun, the dirt, the grass the wind. It's like violent sometimes, here in Oklahoma, with the wind. Like literally my canvas will fly at me and bruise me. I like the chaos of it, yeah know? The dirt flying everywhere, the canvas hitting the ground and having to pick it up again. It's a whole process.
One of my favorite parts of your work is seeing the different elements left on canvas that unintentionally landed there and were intentionally left there. Can you tell us a little more about your process?
For me it's all about the process. Most of my work can take weeks or even months of adding layers and letting it dry, then letting it wither outside then coming back to it and repeating the process until it's reached something I'm happy with.
I love that. So when did you start getting into art and start painting?
Realistically, in my senior year (high school). I remember making a painting in my like 10th year but it was like a little collage thing I did on canvas and I threw like glitter on it haha. It's funny cause its kinda like how my paintings look now. That was like the first time I like really sat down and was like okay I'm going to make a painting and I quite for awhile like right after that.
Did you ever have a teacher or anyone push you to get back into painting?
Yeah in my senior year I had to take basic drawing. I ended up doing a drawing of Frank Ocean and we had to write about it. The way I wrote about it and the drawing I did, my teacher moved me up to AP Art.
That's awesome to have a teacher see that in you.
Yeah it was cool. She was basically like you don't have to do any of the lessons you could just paint. I did like 15 paintings about religion and spirituality that year.
So your first deep dive into painting seems like you were probably 18 years old, a kind of a coming of age moment. Why was religion and spirituality something you were already drawn towards at such a young age?
Oh it's definitely just how I came up. Like seeing all the religious figures around my house. I grew up in a Mexican catholic house so mother Mary was everywhere and the cross was on all the walls. I guess I've always felt spiritual I just didn't really relate to those figures so I've always had these thoughts and ideas turning in my mind.
That's interesting. I've heard you talk in the past about your anxieties and how you navigate that through your spirituality. How has art helped you cope with your anxiety and explore your spirituality?
Growing up I was a quiet kid. I didn't have a ton of friends and was really shy. I had to deal with panic disorder and anxiety and was in the doctors like every day type shit. I learned a lot about spirituality in high school trying to navigate that. When I made it to 12th grade is kind of when I like expressed all of that, like all of those feelings. Art is definitely become like my medication.
That's beautiful you've been able to find that through art. Once you get settled into your new spot are there any projects in particular you're excited to get started on?
I have like visions in my head of me doing the paintings, like the physical actions of painting but nothing specific so far. I really want to get back into my fabric paintings except for even more mixed fabrications and moving from sewing machine to canvas to paintings and so on.
Hell yeah I'm excited for those. The fabric paintings were some of the first pieces that drew me into your art. Do you think they will be ready in time for our Mexican Art Exhibition in April?
Hell yeah! I'm looking forward to it and can't wait to see what you do next. Is there anything else you wanted to talk about or plug in?
No I think I said everything I needed to say.
Dope. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and reimagine our back space.
Any time! Thank you for having me on.
Photography courtesy of Aldo Delara
Written and recorded conversation transcribed by Elyjah Monks