Monday, July 20, 2009

Mando Alvarado

1. How did you decide to become an artist?
I guess you could say that I had no choice. It found me. My family members have a history of expressing themselves through art, whether it be through music, drawing or making a fool of themselves. Artistic expression made life a little easier for all of us. Now, when did I decide to make a living at it is a completely different story. 23. All my options of a life I thought I wanted to live came to an abrupt halt. I needed a new start. A new beginning. My best friend is an actor. And at the time, I decided to visit him in NYC. That visit changed my life. I knew what I wanted. I just had to figure out how to go get it.

2. What kind of work as an artist have you done so far, and what other work have you done?
Feels like I'm going through a lot of disciplines so far. I started out as an actor. But these last couple of years, I've ventured into playwriting, directing for film and theater, of painted, played music. Basically anything to keep my demons at bay.

3. How did the Kenan Fellowship contribute to your development as an artist?
It allowed me the resources to explore my career options. It put the onus on me to continue developing my craft while supplying some financial support.

4. What is the most memorable and positive experience you had as a Kenan Fellow?
Developing my one-man show. It was my first major attempt at writing. I worked with a good friend of mine, Shirley Serostky. She really pushed me to challenge myself. I always say if you want to be an actor, you need to work with children, do a Shakespeare play and a one-person show. All three have the potential of scaring the shit out of you. Walking the rope with no net.

5. What was disappointing or frustrating to you about the Kenan Fellowship?
There was no structure. No really idea of how to use us as actors. It was still in the idea of place. We were skilled, talented, trained actors and they didn't know how to use us. In fact, they spent money on less talented actors and had us as their understudies. Didn't make any sense to me.

6. What are you planning to do next in your artistic career?
I just finished a feature film in which I was a co-director, writer, producer and actor. It was the most challenging experience of my life. It seems that I'm sitting in a limbo chair for the moment. Figuring out where this roads going to take me. Gearing up for the next challenge what ever that may be.

7. How does your art relate to your family and community life?
My family, my community is my art. I'm from a small border town in South Texas and everything I write, do, and see stems from that growing up experience. What I do, what matters to me, is continuing a way to create work to share with my home, my community. Finding a theatrical way of showing a reflection of themselves in ways they don't normally interact with. Whether it be in film or theater, I live to tell their stories.

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