I am Alai, a contemporary oil painter. “Alai” in basque means “happy”, and that’s precisely what I want to convey with my paintings :)
✦ Check a little BIO below
✦ Scroll to read FAQs about my work
- July: Graduated in Fine Arts Degree at University of Basque Country
- Speciality in Painting
- October: Master Copy from live course with Luis Candaudap in Museo de Bellas Artes Bilbao - featured in Teleberri local news
- January: Reached 10k on Instagram
- April: AlaiGanuza, as a brand, was born
- April: Reached 100k on Instagram
- May: Started YouTube channel and Patreon
- September: Reached 200k on Instagram
- October: Record of the first Domestika Course
- November: Conference in Barandiarán High School about entrepreneurship for Leioa Behargintza
- December: Featured in Leioa local magazine
- January: Launched the First Domestika Course: Top seller!
- March: Interviewed in ElCorreo and ElCorreoDigital
- March: Bada Madrid press conference
- Interviewed by Vogue and Vogue.es
- Featured in Forbes.es
- Featured in Elindependiente.com
- Featured in Vanitas.es
- Featured in TheCitizen.es
- April: Reached 300k on Instagram
- Brush photo booth painted for Trekell Factory demo day event
- April: Featured on Create Magazine issue #29
- May: BADA Madrid Art fair - featured in Madrid Directo local news
- May: Launching of Twitter account - first viral tweet
- Blum podcast cover for Elextraordinario.com and Myswitzerland.com
- June: Recording of the second Domestika course
- July: Live Streaming at Milbby Madrid
- July: First Workshop at Estudio Patricia Carrión
- September: Interviewed in Vivirdelarte.es by Artist Solution
- October: First group show at La Caja de Luz Gallery: La realidad anhelada - featured in Vogue.es
- October: The second Domestika course gets launched
Frequent Asked Questions
What's the name of your style?
I wish I knew :) I guess we'll have a proper name for a hundreds years later, as I am not the only one painting like that!
Meanwhile, let me describe some of the characteristics my work have.
I like to paint real stuff but in a colourful way, enhancing what I see. I love to leave my brushwork visible, without blending it too much. For that, I use oil paints. Sometimes, edges can be mixed, and others, you can paint wet on wet without mixing. In addition, oils can have vibrant colours, but also transparencies in which the base underpainting is seeing. This creates nice happy accidents that make the painting more interesting.
Can I study your work in my class assignment? Can I use your work for teaching purposes?
Yes. I'd be honoured! If you need any more info, feel free to send me a mail to email@example.com and we can schedule a call, mails... your best :)
Which materials do you use?
I paint mostly with oil paints. But I also paint digitally sometimes.
I explain materials deeply in my first Domestika Course.
For painting in oils I use: wood, paper or canvases as support, gesso, oil ground and/or acrylic for priming, acrylic or acrylic markers for sketching, and finally oil paints for painting.
Although I tried other painting tablets in the past, I paint mostly in the iPad. Procreate is my preferred tool to edit and make mock ups. But all my traditional-digital paintings are made in an app called ArtRage.
Why do you paint on a pink/teal/yellow underpainting base?
Short answer: it helps me painting more saturate and it gives some fun to the painting. Recently I made a video with a deep talk/show about this.
How can I start painting daily or frequently?
To keep the motivation high, you need to see results frequent. For that, I suggest you paint small things in fast sessions. If you have 1 hour to paint, make a finished painting in that hour, maybe 2. If you have 3h a day to paint, you can make more ambitious paintings, but be sure to finish them in that period of time. Only with experience you'll be able to tell how many times you take to paint a thing. Start small with the things you have around. Make a list: ear, eye, pear, avocado, glasses, car, your pet... Don't think, just paint. Grab the list and start painting as you go. The more "meh" objects and random paintings will be the best ones!
Watching you painted a finished piece today, will encourage you to paint another one tomorrow. And if you made some "bad" ones, don't worry, just drop it apart and start fresh tomorrow! Use cheap materials so you don't get attached to the paintings. Oil paper is great for beginners!
How long have you been painting?
I doodled like everyone else since I was a kid. But as I studied science, I have not painted much until 2015 when I entered Fine Arts Degree at University. But it was little, random and unmotivated. It wasn't until 2020 when I started painting daily small things as described above. I learnt more in that year by myself than in the previous years. And now, now I paint more than ever.
How can I grow my Instagram account?
I created a free guide to share with you all how I grew my account from scratch. Here you can check that guide. However, Instagram is an evolving social media platform. I suggest you take this as a base and experiment and research more so you can educate and update with it.
"When grown ups worked and studied at home, I wanted to study like them. I was given some paints and papers to "study" with them so I could be chill... that's how I started to paint :)"
The fear of "painting won't pay your bills" made me not choose Art in my studies. I also loved science. I was studying Physics at the University when my family got ill and I had to drop my studies to take care of them.
Painting always clung me to life in bad moments and my SO encouraged me to pursue arts as something more than just a hobby (at that time, that hobby was making League of Legends fan skins ha!)
✦ At 22 I entered Fine Arts degree at University of Basque Country. I learnt a lot of things about arts, history of fine arts, colour theory, materials and techniques... but I had no clue what I wanted to do with all that.
✦ We all thought "art, the more realistic, the better". But I realised that bored me and I wanted something more. I started to unlearn how to paint in photorealistic style to use more vibrant and visible colours in my works.
✦ In 2nd degree, I started to sell commissioned portraits at local stores. Clients wanted the painting "as the photo". You know: no fun colours, brushwork... but still, it was nice and kept me pushing.
✦ I had different part time jobs during the uni, but the quarantine gave me a nice me-time.
✦ In 2020, I was working on my final project but it wasn't making me feel fulfilled and proud.
✦ I decided to paint daily and small to figure out what I wanted to do. I started with simple things I had at home.
✦ During that time I started to document my progress on social media... and I'm sure you know what comes after. I started making mini tutorials, that became video tutorials, Reels, IGTV... that made me create a YouTube channel... and now I'm creating courses for you all.
Now I am a full time painter by accident!
✦ My original plan was to keep studying, Master's degrees, PhDs... Then galleries and maybe paint while working as a teacher. You know, the "right path".
✦ But thanks to social media and thanks to the community, I'm able to keep learning by myself and experimenting, while I sell my work allowing me to keep learning and sharing.
✦ I'm sure there will be time for the rest of the things, if needed. I'm using this opportunity now, and it's great!
✦ Now I am attending Art Fairs, events; I make workshops and I have two Domestika courses, a YouTube channel and a Patreon with many lovely people supporting my work!
✦ I keep learning, but I want to teach you all I have!
✦ As me, no matter what you studied, if you put passion and time, you can be a painter too.
✦ I think that there's no "only one possible or right way" to do this. The important thing is to paint. Experiment, test things. But always be kind to the community because Art is not one-person-thing :)