At the Garden with Steph Alvarez

  • by The Cartellino Team

Steph Alvarez (b. 1989, Philippines) is a painter and illustrator based in Las Piñas, Metro Manila, Philippines. A licensed architect by profession, she left her day job to pursue a career in art. Steph’s personal works are narratives exploring themes such as self-identity, time, and spirituality, touching upon themes inspired by personal experiences, as well as her struggles with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).

She incorporates elements of nature with the female form, inspired by her mother’s garden, miraculous rose petal motif of Marian apparitions, and her own illustration background of integrating female portraits with flora. At the moment, she focuses on watercolor and paper for her medium but has worked with graphite, acrylic paint, gouache, and pen. Her works have been exhibited in group shows in galleries around Metro Manila.

As an illustrator, she has worked with various brands by providing commercial illustrations and was featured in Avon Philippines’ women empowerment campaign by painting and exhibiting portraits of selected inspiring Filipino women. When she is not working on commissions and personal paintings, she conducts classes on watercolor painting. She has conducted workshops around Metro Manila and in Cebu City to date. Currently, Steph is preparing for her first solo show happening in 2021.

DIGEST Cartellino_Steph Alvarez_Birthing I_2020
Birthing. 2020. Pigment ink on 300 gsm matte archival paper (100% cotton). Edition of 10.

On her works:

The paintings selected are part of a series of works inspired by the artist’s mother’s garden in their home. In this series, she incorporates her background in illustration with her current practice of working with watercolor on paper. The concept was born one summer day in 2019 when the artist was watering her mother’s garden.

Initially, the ethereal heads and hands sprouting from the plants personified concerns the artist had regarding her diagnosed syndrome, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). As she explored this style of work further, the themes also evolved, reflecting different concerns the artist faced in relation to personal, social, and cultural topics.

DIGEST Cartellino_Steph Alvarez_Grow and Fester_2019
Grow, and Fester. 2020. Pigment ink on 300 gsm matte archival paper (100% cotton). Edition of 10.

What music did you have growing up?

Alternative, indie rock music and some 80s music while I was in college. It greatly influenced my current music taste and some life decisions, hehe.

What work of art last caught your eye?

Qimmyshimmy's surreal scone sculptures

We’re playing charades. What is the hardest thing you could have someone guess?

I'm currently working on my first solo show happening on March next year! It will be shown at Galerie Stephanie.

We’re playing charades. What is the hardest thing you could have someone guess?

I'm not sure, hmm... maybe personalities from some famous memes? :D

What do you think deserves more attention?

People who are in dire need of assistance right now.

What would be your last meal?

So many I would like to mention here but I guess I'll have to choose a full-course Japanese meal. And some good beer!

Anchor photo: Indefinite Vigil. 2020. Pigment ink on 300 gsm matte archival paper (100% cotton). Edition of 10.

These featured works are available as prints until November 30. Start here.


All images courtesy of the artist.