Arts & Culture

Meet the Muralist: Nicole Alvarez

Frankie Wenson


In the last couple of years #DowntownSac has transformed into a playground for artists to express their creativity and help bring more color and art to the city. Summer’s downtown are the perfect time to come out and see all the beautiful murals that cover our buildings and they are some of the best places in the area for a photo op!

Meet Nicole Alvarez, a local artist and mural conservationist. For the last five years she has assisted in art restoration for artists in the Long Beach area and understands the importance between art and the community. She recently created our Farmers’ Market mural that you can visit on J Street. Nicole is inspired by the city and has been able to witness the growth of Sacramento over the years. As an artist, she loves that she is able to try new things in order to evolve in her artistic capabilities and leave her mark on #DowntownSac.

“The art I enjoy making, outside of murals, focuses on the use of color and light through abstraction in a polychromatic palette. My color palette is inspired by the world around me; through people, memories, and places”.

*Fun Fact: If you came out to Concerts in the Park this season, you might have met Nicole. She worked at the event this year!

In addition to assisting an artist in this year’s Wide Open Walls, Nicole will be starting on a new mural on K Street for independent bookstore, Capital Books. Read more about Nicole below and make sure to follow her artistic journey and see her full portfolio on Instagram: @handmadebynicole_!

How long have you been painting murals?

I painted my first mural in 2013 for a small restaurant in Santa Monica. Since then, I have worked for the City of Long Beach Mural Conservancy Program and painted alongside many talented artists working on a variety of walls. I have had the opportunity to assist artists in Pow Wow Long Beach, and I am looking forward to assisting another artist in this year’s Wide Open Walls for Sacramento.

What is your favorite thing about having your art displayed in Sacramento?

I was raised here in the Sacramento area, but have spent most of my artist career in southern California. To be able to have one of my works displayed in the city where I grew up is very near and dear to my heart.

Photo provided by: Nicole Alvarez

What do you hope people take away from your art when they look at it?

I hope that people have a reaction. Whatever that may be. I want the viewer to form their own opinion, if the colors remind them of something or someone, or maybe it’s just aesthetically pleasing. Ultimately, I hope my work sparks conversation between people.

Is there something that you haven’t painted that you would like to paint?

I would love to translate one of my abstract paintings into a larger scale mural. To be able to create something so organic and colorful on the side of a building would be my dream come true.

If you could only use one paint color for the rest of your life what color would it be?

Although I prefer painting with a polychromatic palette, I think blue would be my first choice. Blue is such a moody color, it comes in many shades, and it can provide a lot of depth within a piece.

Header photo provided by: Nicole Alvarez