We had the good fortune of connecting with Yahel Yan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yahel, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
Being an artist entails much more than just painting! Painting and creating for me is simply the fun part of being an artist, but there are many other less enjoyable aspects. After a painting is done you still need to varnish it, put a wire or a hanging hook, label it, archive the data on a spreadsheet, photograph it, uploaded it onto the website, submit it to a show or gallery, announce it on social media, promote it like any other business will promote their product, so on and so forth. Being an artist means being the owner of your own business; people don’t realize how much work goes into each painting and we need to educate people about the cost of the product offered and why the price assigned shouldn’t be negotiable. We paint for passion and we sell so we can paint more. So yes, being an artist is a full-time job—it’s a profession, not a hobby.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I work in three different mediums: printmaking, oil, and acrylic. The results are very different, but they are in communication with one another. My etchings are very detailed and whimsical, while my oils are figurative and more realistic. When using acrylics, I was trying to be abstract but I was not happy about how these “three personalities” were coming together, so with my mentors’ guidance, I was able to combine the loose, chaotic rhythm of abstract expressionism with realism and sometimes integrate hand-carved stamping too. In most of my work, the viewer gets to see all genres married into one work of art. And of course, the recurring use of chair(s) is my subject. People know me for my paintings of chairs, and when I paint other subjects people ask me “where’s the chair?” and I secretly like that because that means that I have an artistic voice that people are expecting to hear.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It’s hard to imagine during this COVID-19 era… but a perfect day for me would go like this: We would start the morning with yoga at Chula Vista Yoga Center, then get breakfast at Flap Your Jacks where you make your own pancakes on the table grill. My pancakes are never round because I like to play and design with the batter. After that, we would stroll through Northpark visiting stores like Pigment, Verbatim, and Visual, and get coffee at Communal Coffee. From there we would go to Ashton Gallery for art viewing, stop by for ice cream at Stella Jeans, go thrift shopping at La Loupe Vintage, shop for artistic goods at L’atelier, view the sunset at the marina, and enjoy dinner at Juniper and Ivy, wow! I miss those days…
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have three amazing art teachers in my life. Loretta Kramer is my printmaking teacher, Andrea Rushing is my oil painting teacher, and Kate Ashton is my acrylic paint teacher and mentor. They have all contributed to my artist practice in different and important ways. For years I was just a student, taking classes here and there, selling some work, and giving away some to friends and family. It was not until I was invited to work under Kate Ashtons’ wing at her mentor group (now renamed to Professional Artist Development program) that I’ve gotten serious about being a professional artist, painting within a schedule, submitting my work to show in galleries, enter art walks, etc. I’m part of that amazing group of artists from Art on 30th. I consider them my “art family”, inspired by them I started selling art online, having a website and an online presence, (Instagram, Facebook, etc.). More recently, I formed a strong bond with a group of friends after taking a marketing class together. We founded a new group and named it F1VE. We meet every week to encourage and inspire each other to grow and achieve our goals as artists. We work together to help our community, as well as to find our own path to success. The members of F1VE are Denise Cerro, Ann Golumbuk, Manaz Raiszadeh, Susie Zol, and myself. We have many projects lined up, so keep your eyes open for them. And finally, the person that deserves the most recognition is my husband, Bruce, for his constant support and for being my biggest fan.