Interview with Yvette Roman 07/26/2020
Yvette Roman is a bi-national artist, curator, and arts educator. She holds a B.A. from UCSD in Visual Arts and Cultural Anthropology. Yvette is passionate about making art accessible through community-organized collaboration. Her artwork is an exploration of simplicity and chaos with disciplines including photography, paper mache, painting, and collage. Yvette weaves memories of loss, self-discovery, and personal insecurities into her work and has been exhibited in the US, Egypt, and Mexico. In addition to her personal art, Yvette is also the founder of ArteDomus, Creative Director at Art Box, and is a member of RALSD’s Steering Committee as the Artist Advocacy Co-Chair.
What projects are you currently working on? There are a few projects that I’m currently working on. Art Box is working on painting utility boxes along San Ysidro Blvd. Our boxes contain positive messages that speak of our times. They address issues with racism, COVID 19, and police brutality. They promote diversity and unity. [You can learn more about this project by reading our Toolbox entry on the Border Public Art Committee]
Through ArteDomus, I am using the platform as an art instructor to teach youth about the importance of community, acceptance, empathy, and self-love. I pride myself on creating a curriculum that teaches art by highlighting BIPOC artists, local and international contemporary artists, and art history that our youth can relate to. I am also working on a few ongoing collaborations, murals, taking commissions, painting, creating a few Zines about my experience gardening, and planning RALSD’s upcoming Art Fest: a two-day virtual arts festival with my Co-Chair, Wendy Gracia, and the RALSD Steering Committee. Stay tuned for more information.
How has the pandemic affected or shifted your practice? 2020 has been a challenging and difficult year. I miss art exhibitions, teaching in-person and visiting friends. Due to COVID, the program I previously worked for (Center for Youth Advancement- La Maestra Foundation) unexpectedly closed without a plan to go digital. That left my community, my coworkers, and myself in an unfortunate situation where programming was no longer offered. It was difficult for me to fathom going through this pandemic without offering art as an outlet or coping skill for our youth. In March, after applying for unemployment, I decided to use the time to give back by offering free classes to youth and adults. It began by teaching family and friends. Little by little, word got out and classes grew. Some of my previous students signed up for classes, too. ArteDomus was born. We are creating art together at home! Today we have provided over 300 services. One of the highlights so far has been working with photographers on MOPA’s 15th Annual Youth Exhibition “Growing Up”, where five of our students were selected. In the second half of 2020 expect exciting online exhibitions, art nights, art talks, and public art, by ArteDomus.
What has your journey been like as a creative/artist/small business owner? Ups, downs, and a few roller coasters loops. Regardless of all the uncertainties, it is art that has led the way. At a young age, I fell in love with art, photography, creating, shapes, and colors. It is that love that provides opportunities, that has led me to teach and why I enjoy curating. Experience is what shapes my artwork and immersing myself in it has allowed me to thrive and grow.
Do you have any tips for up-and-coming, or rising artists/creatives? Believe in yourself. Something so simple, yet one of the hardest things to do as a creative. Make art, all the time. Don’t wait to be inspired to create, just make something. If you don’t like it, trash it and move on. If you find it interesting, frame it, show it, post it, it might not be liked by everyone but everyone wants to see it. Be open to collaborations, learn from them, and use that knowledge to grow. If something isn’t working, fulfill your commitments, and move to other projects. Be honest about what you can give, promise what you know you can deliver, and aim for more. Be organized, work hard, communicate, and schedule some family and self-care time.
Follow Yvette on Instagram: @yvette_roman