Saturday, October 17, 2009

George Yepes

If there is any artist that I have admired since I moved to LA and discovered the bold and dynamic world of art, it's George Yepes. His works, whether murals or paintings, are larger than life and strikingly beautiful. His visible brush strokes create expressions in pale faces, sadness in glazed over eyes, passion in black and red backgrounds. It is all back up by a long career which began in his youth. One of the youngest of the Chicano muralist movement in LA in the 1970s, he is still a force in the art world today. Read his exhaustive biography on his website: It is well-worth the read with very personal details of his family history.
I had the great pleasure of meeting George for the first time in San Antonio where he has a studio. It was at First Fridays in the Blue Star Gallery space where a couple of his works were on display. My cousin met him that summer and introduced me to him. Little did I know that a few years later I'd be able to work with him at the Autry where three of his works were on display for our Bold Caballeros exhibit. La Adelita, La Pistola y el Corazon, and La Serenata graced our walls and street banners and garnered much media attention. What impressed me most about Yepes, besides his immense talent, is that he is a work-horse. He had three galleries across the US and recently opened one in Las Vegas. Yet anytime that I had a promotional opportunity for him, there he was bright and early (his bedtime) talking to the press and his fans and signing autographs for every last person waiting in line. In addition, he runs an art school to pass along his knowledge to younger generations. Yet, I hear the cricisms about him, not by fans but by other artists. I chalk it up to jealousy. I hate to even say that because it's so cliche, but in Yepes's case, I think it is true. It's nit picking comments that annoy me. I think people are jealous of his drive, determination, and dare, I say it, talent. I once heard that his depiction of a folklorico dancer was innacurate, way off, and completely wrong.
Something about the wrong way the ribbons were on the girls hair, or the skirt wasn't that color blah blah blah, only to discover that Yepes was inspired by an actual picture of a folklorico dancer wearing the same bright, bold colors, and ribbons in her hair. I just laughed inside when I saw the painting and picture. Besides, so what if they were to have been innacurate? It's ART. Art is interpretive, in the eye of the beholder, and my eyes love the passion and deep emotion he brings out especially in his portraits of real women. These are my favorite. Women become angels and demons in his hands. The best part is that his works are within reach. If not the originals, then get the posters, postcards, and candles. You can find them at Chimaya Gallery or on his website He even has some nice holiday gift sets for the art lover on your list. They will thank you!
If you ever run into George on the street or at a gallery, don't be shy. He's incredibly approachable and down-to-earth. He loves to talk about his friendship with film directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Both use his works in their films. You may recognize the "Shotgun Messenger" image above. It was in Once Upon a Time in Mexico and is now owned by Rodriguez. Next time you see their movies, take a look at the background art work. It's probably Yepes. And if you live in LA, you can see Yepes' murals around town like the one at St. Lucy's Church in City Terrace (above), outside White Memorial Hospital on Cesar Chavez, or this one below at the LA County's Child Abuse Center.

1 comment:

  1. I agree yepes is truly amazing!