Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Yeomans.
Jeff, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I don’t think there’s anything more empowering than winning a contest, especially when you’re young. In the second grade, I won 1st place from Bank of America for a Halloween art contest — I still have that trophy. My parents always supported my brothers and sisters’ efforts at being creative, my oldest sister is a painter, my brother makes beautiful ceramics and my other sister is a quilter and can sew beautifully. I was fortunate to have several wonderful art teachers and have been a painter for more than 40 years.
When I first moved to San Diego, I painted large outdoor murals and signs. I was fortunate to work for the Reader in the 1970s as a production artist, graphic designer and illustrator. I later spent almost two decades at KPBS, first as a graphic designer and later as art director. It was a job I really loved and I learned a lot. I when I look back I realize that working in both print and television were experiences that prepared me to pursue and promote my career as a fine artist.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In 2001, two weeks before 9/11, my job at KPBS was eliminated due to budget cuts. I was devastated because I had two small kids to support. My wife suggested and encouraged me to pursue painting full-time. I was fortunate to find a to path selling art In San Diego and also Laguna Beach, and until 2008 I felt pretty successful. When the economy took a hit, like everyone else I struggled to make ends meet.
Fortunately, we found that the foundation that we had worked to build, like any business, helped in the more difficult years, as collectors and friends continued to follow and support my career.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Jeff Yeomans Studio – what should we know?
In writing classes we’re taught to write about what we know, so I paint what I know. Southern California was a special place to grow up, and surfing and art were always my passion. So in addition to painting California landscapes I tried to set myself apart by painting contemporary California, how we live and what makes our region unique.
And surfing and art were always my passion. So, in addition to painting California landscapes I tried to set myself apart by painting contemporary California how we live and what makes our region unique. I see paintings everywhere, urban streets, coastal neighborhoods, restaurant kitchens, people at the beach enjoying the amazing climate we take for granted. I’ve also noticed that over the years a lot of my paintings are autobiographical, travels with my family and friends, visual records of my children as they’ve grown up.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’m still friends with my high school art teacher, Linda Stevens. She’s followed my career and is a beautiful presence in my past. Ruben Heredia was a college instructor that was very influential in my college days, my drawing instructor. Alex Farnsley believed in me at the Reader where he let me illustrate Eleanor Widmer’s restaurant reviews, and Ron Coviello hired me at KPBS and taught me so many important things about graphic design. I’m indebted to all of them for their support, and faith in my abilities.
Ron Maikovich owned Unicorn Antiques and hired me to paint a 20×80 foot mural at his business in the 70s. Chet and Sue Noe in Point Loma hired me for multiple projects downtown after that. David and Kay Porter kept me busy with several mural jobs in Mission Beach and that led to a wonderful friendship (and projects) with Jean and John Ready in South Mission. All of these people were crucial to my eventual success as a San Diego artist. They literally kept me from starving and also have become life-long friends. How do you thank people like that? I’m still trying to find that answer.
I worked for almost 20 years at KPBS and the people there are like family to me. It’s difficult to separate my job there from that family of friends that watched my children grow up. I’m so proud to know so many of the NPR reporters that started there and have become nationally recognized for their talent. It seems like everyone who’s crossed my path supported my efforts to become a painter. The talented people at the Reader, KPBS (and later) Taylor Guitars are all people that have made a name for themselves and set a very high standard for what they do. I’m in very good company and San Diego seems to nurture exceptionally talented people. I feel blessed and like winning an Oscar, I know I’m leaving so many people out as I try to answer this question. I know that they know who they are.
- My original paintings sell from $250- $12000, depending on many different variables.
- Website: www.jeffyeomans.com