Mira Mesa artist Andrew Alcasid brings Victorian home to life with ‘Flowers and Fields’
Alcasid’s latest art exhibition in Sherman Heights runs through July 25
For his latest exhibition “Flowers & Fields,” Mira Mesa artist Andrew Alcasid opted to ditch the familiar “white cube gallery” for a nontraditional exhibition space: an 1896 Queen Anne Victorian home.
“I’m looking at every surface — of wall space, and also windows — and seeing what can fit,” Alcasid, 34, says. “If there’s a blank wall, that’s them asking for some work. (The house) is just a blank canvas.”
For the record:
2:28 p.m. July 16, 2021An earlier version of this story listed the incorrect date for a closing event. It will be held 4 to 7 p.m. July 25.
Presented by Art, Power and Equity; Apotheosis Art’s guest curator Antoinette Genevieve Williams; and J. Walcher Communications, “Flowers & Fields” is the second “Curator-in-Residence” exhibition staged at the Sherman Heights space and will be on display through July 25.
Alcasid’s floral-themed exhibition features nearly 100 original pieces, spanning five years and multiple mediums, including watercolors, ceramics, monotypes, and site-specific work.
These pieces are spread across various rooms in the 124-year-old house (that also houses the offices of J. Walcher Communications), such as the front porch, kitchen, dining area and staircase.
“I think (the exhibition) has a nice flow and fits the house — it’s not competing with the house,” he continues.
Alcasid is a self-taught artist who started out by experimenting with street art and painting electrical boxes around San Diego. In 2015, he received his biggest commissioned piece: “Omega Mural,” an outdoor mural in Mira Mesa that’s visible from the freeway.
Shortly after, Alcasid pursued formal training at San Diego Mesa College. He is a graduate of the Museum Studies program and held artist residencies at Bread & Salt in Logan Heights and (now-shuttered) Helmuth Projects in Bankers Hill.
With street art roots, Alcasid is known for site-specific, large-scale murals. His work has been featured at various art institutions around San Diego, including Balboa Park’s Mingei International Museum.
But in May 2019, Alcasid received news that changed both his life and his art: a cancer diagnosis. While he was stuck at home during chemotherapy treatments and post-surgery recovery, Alcasid picked up a watercolor palette.
“I couldn’t really venture out and take on site-specific wall murals or climb ladders, so it was a really accessible medium,” he says.
He started painting his indoor surroundings — specifically, flowers. With his partner Aubrey Mejia working as a floral designer, coupled with Alcasid’s experience raising orchids in Mira Mesa with his mother, flowers proved to be a natural fit for his artwork.
During recovery, Alcasid completed multiple series of small-scale, watercolor and acrylic paintings of orchids, daisies and sunflowers. Rather than hold him back, his cancer diagnosis propelled him to produce more art.
“Being faced with mortality made me want to make as much work as I could make before I couldn’t (anymore),” he says.
Many of these paintings, along with live floral arrangements designed by Mejia, will decorate the Victorian home staging “Flowers & Fields.”
Although his experience in treatment was part of the work’s timeline, Alcasid says the exhibition is not intended to be a constant reminder of his cancer. Instead, the self-described optimist aims for the watercolors to show visitors that “they can be productive in any setting and find ways to get through hard times.”
Alcasid says he also wants the exhibit, which he installed himself, to challenge observers’ relationship with their environment.
“I hope that when people see how I’ve displayed everything that they start to look at space differently — that’s the effect I get when I see good art,” he says.
“Flowers & Fields” is on display at 1940 Market St. in Sherman Heights from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, with a closing event scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. July 25. Learn more about Alcasid at andrewalcasid.carbonmade.com.
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