When Andrew Linares moved to Denver six years ago, he didn't tell anyone about his passion for music and art. Which is why he was so nervous about baring his soul at his first-ever art exhibition. Anima Instincts, a display of Linares's photography under the pseudonym A.S. Leena Res, is now showing at the Matchbox.
Linares calls the opening night of the show a "coming out" party, because it was the first time he was sharing his work, accompanied by a 45-minute music set and custom light display. See also: - Photos: Denver celebrates Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day - Sneak peak! Jennifer Goodland's Big Year Colorado photography gallery at Leela - Visual artist Wayne White talks about Pee Wee's Playhouse and using the F-word in fine art
An Austin native, Linares had been a musician for years. But after graduating from college, he began to develop carpal tunnel, which stalled his music career. "I wanted to get out of whatever I know, so I came to Denver," he says. "I took six years off from playing music and from doing art."
Because of physical limitations, Linares tried to start a career in radio. But as he attempted to follow a new path, he was always drawn back to art and music. "I guess I do it because I have to at this point," he explains. "I tried to leave it behind, but I couldn't because it's just.... It's in harmony with my soul. It's what I have to be doing."
Linares started seeing a Jungian therapist, who specializes in the analysis of dreams. And during a week spent house-sitting in Austin, he had a dream that set the Anima Instincts project in motion. "The first night I stayed there, I had this dream, and in this dream this female figure -- I recognize that it's a feminine figure, but I can't really tell what she looked like -- asked me this question: What does it look like just before you wake up?" he recalls. "And so I guess I would say this whole collection is an examination of trying to answer that question."
During his week of solitude, he continued to take photos and play music. When he returned to Denver, he felt re-energized to pursue art and music again. "Something had changed; it was like these embers that had almost died out had been blown up again," he says. "I felt alive again, really more so than I had in a really long time."
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So Linares set up a display of his photography at the Matchbox, along with an outdoor display where he would play his music while photos flashed on a screen, and invited friends and family to opening night. "Of course, it's like the first day in three months that it rains in Denver," he says. "So we had to move everything inside and, as a younger man, I would have been freaking out. At this point, it's just like, 'Okay, this is how it is.'"
The opening was terrifying, Linares says, because the people he invited had never seen this side of him. But now that he's gotten a taste of it, he intends to keep going with his art. "This was but a small, small step down a really long path," he says. "I'm walking right now, and I feel like I'm going to run. Ultimately, I want to create a holistic, sensual kind of experience, where you go to a show and you experience the music, you experience the visual and there's a connection among it all."
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Anima Instincts will be on display at the Matchbox until October 5. Linares says he plans to do a second show in the next few months.