Alvaro Labañino was born in 1989 in Miami, Florida, son of a working-class family. His father (born in Baracoa, Cuba) was a self-employed handyman whom emigrated from Cuba to the U.S. soon after Fidel Castro's takeover of the island nation. His mother (born in La Lima, Honduras), a self-employed housekeeper, emigrated from Honduras to the U.S. in search of a life better than in poverty-stricken, crime-ridden Honduras.
Labañino was raised in Little Havana, one of Miami's most historic neighborhoods, as well as one of its most impoverished, but opportunely attended South Miami Senior High Magnet School of the Arts' magnet program for Fine Art, graduating in 2008. He then attended Miami Dade College—the first in his family to go to college—and thereafter went on to earn his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (majoring in Painting, with a minor in Art History) cum laude from Florida International University in 2012. He currently lives and works in Miami, Florida.
Alvaro Labañino creates paintings that function as thresholds to his mind. Through his artworks he exposes a world of thoughts, life experiences, dreams, nightmares, and fears which he often materializes in the form of personal objects, domestic spaces, and landscapes. His works focus on his immediate and private retreats, as well as on his purposeful travels outside of the United States. Labañino saturates the commonplace with significance and emotion, often portraying the whereabouts of his native Little Havana or the interior of his studio-apartment. The spaces are devoid of the human figure and describe the solitude that he habitually seeks, and which life sometimes imposes without invitation. His artworks are demonstrative of these reticent feelings. His paintings are methodically structured, despite that they may be sometimes somewhat enigmatic in their breakdown. Often, images are segmented into flat areas of colors and contours that interact in varying intensities and temperatures that communicate the artist's intended temperament.
Death, conqueror of all that is living, looms over the conscience of lonesome spirits; yet, before succumbing to a condition that is all too human, he thirsts for discovery and knowledge. As a traveler, he sets out to enrich his finite existence. As recluse, he ponders intensively about his life and the people that give meaning to it. Labañino is especially absorbed in painting and its rich and extensive history. His major influences hail from the School of London, the German Expressionists, as well as him finding insight in artists René Magritte, Juan Gris, Vincent van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer, El Greco, among others. The artist draws further inspiration from his hometown of Miami, Florida, and his experiences growing up in a working-class family in a rather coarse neighborhood. He, furthermore, repeatedly makes available pieces of his conventional life through his labyrinthine artworks, as he continues to experiment with and contest both representational and abstract painting in his works.