We had the good fortune of connecting with Yenny Bernal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yenny, how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
Life is nothing but a game of risk, and I have learned to embrace it from an early age growing in Colombia. Taking a risk of any size can cause stress and anxiety but are a necessary evil if you wish to better yourself and what you have. For me taking risks has been the motor that has been driving my life in the search for adventure, self-discovery, and expression within the visual arts for as long as I can remember.
The biggest risk I ever took was deciding to stay in the United States at the age of 18 as my parent’s American Dream fell to pieces and living here was no longer possible or healthy for them. It was a risk financially and emotionally to go out on my own from such a young age, but one which has shaped both my life and career as a multidisciplinary self-taught artist.
Subsequently, this gave me the strength and resolve to leave corporate America to pursue a career in the art world, despite the general perception that this ‘hobby’ could not provide financial independence. Today as I look back and examine the road that has led me here, I will certainly say to creatives to dream as big as they can, for dreaming is the first stage of creation and if you commit and practice, practice, practice… You can and will achieve great things!
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way? What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
When it comes to my artistic expression, I would say that I consider myself to be an enthusiastic explorer of the Mixed Media world. I find great joy in recycling objects that are interesting in shape, texture, or color. I find that they can help me share an idea or even emotion as I use them for my creative visual outlet. Truthful expression is the outlet of my soul… We all carry wounds, wounds that can be healed through self-discovery and art creation.
As an art teacher for grades K-5th as well as for seniors – I can see the testimony of healing and self-confidence and growth via my student’s projects and artwork. Our Santanero community is incredibly unique, and I believe that we are making a huge impact and great strides as our city’s appreciation of arts education is high. I can say with pride that the city of Santa Ana is a current leader for the arts and culture in Orange County.
Lately, I have been fascinated by texture and the simplicity of shapes and color theory for my pieces. At the beginning of my serious painting explorations, I was deeply moved by surrealism and attempted to go in that direction as you will see in my early work. As the years passed and shaped me with my style you can see my technical improvements and a newfound love for abstract work, and also lots of watercolor studies and some paintings too!
Due to my involvement with the DTSA arts world for the last 13 years, I have also been blessed and honored to be able to use my creativity to produce and coordinate culturally enriching events that uplift our community. DTSA Artwalk Coordinator for the last 7 years, and now the owner of my own events company Uplifting Soul Art Events bringing workshops to public venues like MainPlace Mall, Arts OC, Chapman University, which are free of charge for our audience, and brings equity to local artists via the production of creative jobs. Again, don’t forget to dream big!!!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week-long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc. In your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places, or things to check out?
Santa Ana is a city I hold dearest in my heart, to the point that I now consider it my second home. I am grateful that I have been able to share it with many friends and family members throughout my years of involvement and event productions.
Downtown Santa Ana is a place worth exploring for a day or more if you can. With breath-taking architecture from the late 1800 and 1900 hundred, as well as a rich historical and cultural essence, this once farming and industrious community is now also a thriving cultural destination in Orange County.
We have a fantastic selection of local restaurants, bars, and galleries to explore. If it’s an early outing I usually like to kick it off with some delicious brunch from Alta Baja in the 4th St Market, which frankly only serves super healthy high-quality food, as well as incredibly refreshingly delicious micheladas. Or if looking for something lighter you could visit The Den, or BlackMarket Bakery for on-the-go bites as well as breakfast items.
A little stroll around the downtown to check out some of the historic places and buildings such as the Santora Arts Building, The Spurgeon Building, Court House, Minter house, cannot be missed. There is beauty everywhere in DTSA with the many murals that have been popping everywhere. Maybe even some light shopping might also be of interest to our visitors down the 4th street/Calle Cuatro, GCS, LibroMobile, Quinceañera stores, or even just the fruit stand on the corners for some vitamin C recharge as you take your stroll.
Evenings are usually when Downtown begins to take on another vibe as the arts and entertainment life begins. There are so many restaurants to choose from you just say what you are craving, and Santa Ana has it! Chapter One is one of my favorite places when I want to enjoy some refined top-notch dining, or maybe Next Round for some incredible grub, or El Indio for Mexican food and some cumbia dancing. There is seriously so much to do in DTSA I hope that you do stop by for a visit very soon.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To all of my artist’s friends who have been supporting me and my ideas during the last 13 years. Thank You!!
Facebook: @UpliftingSoulArtSA @SoundwaveFestSantaAna
Photo of student and I with mask – Photo Credit: OCCTAC All other photos were taken by me.