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Alvin Clayton Paints Humanity Colorfully to Take Color Out of The Picture

The Debbie Nigro Show

Release Date: 04/12/2024

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I can’t get enough of my friend Alvin ClaytonHe is bursting with talent and great energy, and I think he makes the world a more beautiful place through all he does and especially through his art through which he tries to speak to people’s humanity. 

Recently I felt compelled to introduce Alvin to as many people as possible who may not know about him just to be able to see the amazing art he creates. Famous people collect his stuff. People like Robert De Niro and Denzel Washington and Halle Berry just to name a few.

Alvin has a fabulous restaurant in New Rochelle, NY called Alvin & Friends which has won many awards. The food is contemporary Caribbean with a Black American South influence, that caters to a discerning customers, and the vibe is always cool with live music often. 

A self -taught artist inspired by Matisse, Alvin's extraordinarily colorful art literally blasts from the walls of his restaurant.

My boyfriend Dave and I often pop in to Alvin’s for a drink and we love when Alvin comes over for a hug and hello and pulls out his phone to show us photos of the latest, greatest pieces of art he has created.  

 

Every single time I think to myself, my God this guy is ridiculously talented!

 

“Well, I think what I try to do with my art is it speaks to people's humanity. And I think our humanity is very much connected and is a common ground. And I think if you reach to humanity, color becomes out of the picture. You get yourself into that situation. So, what I try to do with my art is to bring the viewer into that moment or that situation and say, wow, you know what, I've experienced that with my friend. And it's not about color because we all experience it.” 

 

I don’t know how Alvin Clayton does it all. He’s married 30 years to a  brilliant beautiful woman, has three children, runs a bustling restaurant that is usually packed with interesting people from all walks of life, then goes home and stays up all night painting.

He’s a good-looking son-of-a-gun too and must not eat all that fabulous food he makes because he’s been a professional model for 25 years. Alvin was the first African American to have eight full pages in GQ magazine. He’s worked for every catalog you could think of, and done major campaigns for Banana Republic, and has shot for Ralph Lauren.

 

Maybe it’s all that worrying he does that keeps him thin. LOL 

“There could be 99 people in my restaurant having an amazing time and possibly one person that did not have the perfect experience and that would wake me out of my sleep. I mean, I’ve gotten a bit better on it, but that still bothers me. I'm genuinely people-oriented, and so my whole thing is to seeing people being in a good space and I think that's what I do with my art too.

 

Alvin Try’s To Paint Solutions To The Issues Bothering Us  

“I mean I paint what some of the issues are that are bothering us and dividing us or whatever, but while I'm painting that I'm also thinking okay we know what the bad things are, what are the solutions, right? And so that's always the final chapter of whatever I do, it's solution.”

Alvin believes, “We have more in common than we do that separates us”.

 

About His Painting of a Woman with Alzheimer’s He Just Showed Me

“Yes, so I was sitting next to this woman in the Dr’s office, her daughter brought her in actually, she had Alzheimer's and the daughter had to go in for her appointment. She asked me if I could keep an eye on her mom while she was in. I said, of course. And so while she was there, I was looking at her. She was dressed really lovely. You could tell she had style and grace. And there was something about her aura that just seemed to be, you could tell she was a beautiful person even though a lot was missing right now. And she was going into her pocketbook and somehow this image came out that she's searching for a pocketbook of lost memories. And so I took her picture and did this painting with my colors and everything else, I researched what the symbol was for Alzheimer's and so on the pocketbook that she had, instead of having a Saint Laurent or one of the trademarks, I had this insignia for the Alzheimer's Association. Even though the disease is devastating I felt she looked angelic”.

 

My Gift Is Not Art But Rather The Art Of Seeing Opportunities Others Don’t

After seeing this work of art, Alvin created, it sparked my art of seeing opportunities between people and then bringing them together to make something actually happen instead of just thinking about it or talking about doing it ‘someday’. It’s what I really get a kick out of doing for people.

My media world is filled with innovative people from many worlds, and I get to know and understand people on a deeper level than most through what I do. These conversations and relationships stick inside my head like Velcro. (I’m always ripping off two separate pieces of Velcro from inside my brain and sticking them together for match lol. Funny I never explained it like that before but makes sense to me.)

I’d just done an interview with the Chairmen of an upcoming Alzheimer's Association Gala fundraiser so I introduced the idea of a collaboration where Alvin’s Alzheimer’s painting could somehow be used to help raise funds for the organization. It’s in motion!

Enjoy this podcast of our live conversation on The Debbie Nigro Show.

In case you haven’t noticed ‘Someday’ has arrived and when it comes to trying out new ideas you know what I always say … “Risk It or Regret It”!

Get in touch if you need to brainstorm who’s inside my head that could be a match for whatever you’re passionate about. [email protected]

Follow @AlvinClaytonArtists on Instagram.

While you’re at it you can follow me too @therealdebbienigro