In my “Forgotten Memories” series, I depict the untold stories from long forgotten photographs. I paint these images on wood panels with oil paints, using a considerable amount of white space with the images cropped out of their environment, creating a sense of unbalance and emphasizing the need to focus on the individual’s memory, rather than the whole picture. White areas from the images blend with the negative spaces of the panel to create tension and abstraction of each delineated line. Since many memories are shared, the identity of the person within each memory is inconsequential. The eyes are blocked out so that the viewer can take part of each memory as if it were their own. The painting is then covered in encaustic wax to add an antique photo look and dream-like feel to each piece. Because many memories are unclear and somewhat “fuzzy”, the wax also obscures the images as if the viewer, themselves, were trying to recall a past event, yet could not remember all of the details.
I started this series in 2009 because it made me sad to see so many old photographs sold in thrift stores and flea markets or thrown away, as if the memories no longer mattered, the events recorded no longer important. This series is my attempt to resurrect these memories in a contemporary way.
Jhina Alvarado is a Mexican- Korean artist who expresses herself using oil and encaustic wax. She is a self-taught artist and holds a masters’ degree in math education and a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. Jhina, a native Californian, has lived in San Francisco since 1994 where she paints while also teaching pre-calculus and advanced algebra at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts.