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Meet Yahel Yan of Yahel Yan Art in Chula Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yahel yan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started painting and drawing when I was very young, you could say that art runs in my family. It all starts with my father who owned a toy factory where he handmade the toy molds himself. My two older brothers are also very artistic, one is an architect/artist and the other is a graphic designer. I credit a large part of my creativity to being surrounded by very artistic people and growing up in a very creative household. As a child was always drawing and making arts and crafts, I never took any formal art classes, but I loved creating as I learned about art from my dad, brothers, books and TV. At the same time I was exposed to fine art early given that my parents collected art, so a typical family outing was to visit art shows, galleries and museums where I we met a variety of artists. As a result our house looked like a gallery, which I loved!

After graduating from high school, I traveled to Florence, Italy to study drawing and art history, after returning to Mexico City I started college and earned a BA in graphic design. I got married and started a family shortly after graduating. With three of my friends started a small business that designed and manufactured hand painted wooden tic-tac-toe boards. After becoming a mother I had to combine being a mother with my career as a graphic designer, so I started designed labels and cards from home.

In 2000 we moved to San Diego, and as soon as my youngest child started preschool, I ran to the closest painting school and started drawing lessons. Eventually, I moved to soft pastels and oils. Unfortunately, my teacher moved away. I had to look for other art classes and that is when I met Loretta Kramer and started my career as a printmaker. I also found new drawing and watercolor studios where I continued to learnEventually, I stared painting with oils and since 2013 and have been paintingwith Andrea Rushing. 

In 2015 I met Kate Ashton, from Art on 30th. This led me to start exploring painting abstracts and with acrylics. Two years later I was invited by Kate to join her MentorshipProgram and that is then that my career as an artist took off. I finally moved from painting as a hobby to painting professionally.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been easy, I guess the hardest part for me was to transition from thinking of art as my hobby to seeing it my profession. For me a personal hurtle was to begin to refer to myself as an Artist; it took me a while to admit it and to actually say it out-laud, “I’m an artist.” 

Additionally, it has been very hard work to find venues to show my work, submit to shows and just keep producing. In order to sell my work, I had to start a website, an Instagram account and a Facebook page all of which need to be keep updated and active. All of this is takes time and hard work and it has been a part of adjusting being a professional artist.

Let’s talk about business. Tell us about yahel yan art – what should we know?
As I mentioned before, I do printmaking, Oil painting and Acrylic painting, each one requires a different process and therefore result in different and distinct styles. Printmaking is a completely different “language” than painting, so my work is more whimsical, with a lot of different patterns. My oil paintings are figurative and more realistic. For acrylics I paint more abstractly but I typically finish them with a realistic object, typically a chair (which I am known for). Chairs are one my main subjects. People always ask me: “why chairs?” and the answer is not simple nor short. I have a miniature chair collection that started as an accident, then it became an obsession and then became a part of my personality. I found myself painting chairs, the first ones were a pair of chairs that I found on the streetI thought it was interesting to see day to day objects laying on the street. I started thinking of chairs not as mere objects but to think of them as representing people, people with a personal history, personality. Ever since then, every time that I look at a chair or a group of chairs, I see them in action, I create a history around them, and I admire their different personalities. Currently most of my acrylic paintings start with an abstract background which conveyemotion, action or situation where I envision the chair (person)lives. My chairs float on the painting, I don’t paint a shadow or a surface to ground them because I want the audience to feel the chair, not as an object but as a living creature.

Any shutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My biggest supporter is my amazing husband, followed by my three beautiful kids who play the role of critics. I trust their opinions, all three of them got the artistic gene. My oldest is a Motion Editor at Lightstorm Entertainment, the middle one is pursuing a career as an Art Therapist and the younger one is an amazing photographer. My participation in the Mentorship Group led by Kate Ashton, owner and creator of Ashton Gallery/Art on 30th has been incredibly inspiring. The group allows me to interact and learn from big name artists. We meet every week to paint together, have lunch, take lessons and provide each otherwith constructive criticism. This allows us to learn from each other’s experiences, share information, and learn different techniques from one another. I think belonging to this group has potentiated my growth as a professional artist. For example, last February I was the Featured Artist at Ashton Gallery’s monthly show, as a result I was invited by Elizabeth Cumming to present a show at Bread and Cie. Following the success of thashow I was asked to show at a restaurant in Santa Monica and just last month one of my paintings was featured in the Pacific Magazine. 

And of course, people who view my art, comment on it as well as my clients they all play a huge role as critics and cheerleaders. While having someone purchase one of mypaintings is of course validation for what I do as an artist.

Sometimes I feel like I’m inside a snowball and I need to work hard to get the ball rolling bigger and bigger!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Madison Parker (group Photo)

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