Chris grew up in the small town of Silver City, New Mexico between alpine forests and the southwest desert where his artistic eye thrived in the magical light of the environment. His work is well known in the region for it’s romantic depictions of “ordinary” scenery. Inspired by his cousin, he began drawing at an early age. Instead of following his artistic passions, Chris took the path most traveled - and recommended by well-intentioned non-artist types - to pursue work that would keep art making his “side-gig” for nearly two decades. He experimented and found some success in bartending. In an effort to “get his act together” he joined the US Army where he worked as an ophthalmic assistant. Following his time in the Army he worked with at-risk youth in various settings. His teaching skills developed and his knowledge of life grew, but art never stopped calling him. In 1998, Chris enrolled at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) where he earned a BS in Fine Art and graduated in 2001 with distinction. He began his teaching career in 2002.
Now a well-known figure drawing and painting teacher in the Pikes Peak Region, Chris taught drawing at UCCS. After teaching a decade at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Chris opened the Alvarez Art School in 2010, where he teaches drawing and painting to adults and children. He has developed a holistic art program, which includes instruction in seeing, drawing and painting techniques, which includes exploration into the philosophies of being an artist and art making. The school is located in downtown Colorado Springs.
In 2019 Chris opened the Alvarez Gallery & Art School. Through the gallery, he is working to support local artists and strengthen his connection to the Pike’s Peak art community.
Early influences include local artists Sparky Lebold and Church Mardosz. Later influences include training by nationally known artists Skip Whitcomb, Matt Smith, Mary Dolf Wood, Eric Michaels, Kim English, Michael Mentler and David Shevlino.
Chris’ work has won several awards, such as Plein Air Magazine’s grand prize at the Paint Historic Manitou Springs Paintout and the grand prize at the Victor Celebrates the Arts Paintout. He was also featured in the April 2016 issue of Springs Magazine.
Chris enjoys bouldering, birding, juggling and collecting vinyl records. If you visit him at his studio, be prepared to hang out and listen to his collection of records. Married, Chris is the father of two elfin children who remind him to pay attention, be present, and notice the beauty in everyday moments.