Rio Yanez, Artist Profile

In the early 20th century, San Francisco felt the effects of disaster. The earthquake of 1906 left the city with crumbled buildings and widespread devastation throughout the downtown area, so art was probably not on the minds of civil servants and residents trying to recuperate and clean a city in disrepair. Artwork from this period in San Francisco history, such as works by Jules Page, showed a San Francisco landscape unharmed by natural disaster; Page’s work captured the vibrancy of the city. In such a digitally laden age, shows may not commonly feature serene paintings of the San Francisco cityscape. But there’s still a deep appreciation for artists who incorporate the city through an artistic lens that gives the viewer a strong sense of the city’s essence.

In searching for a contemporary San Francisco artist who uses San Francisco as a primary element within their work, we found Rio Yañez. At Muddy Waters Coffee House on San Francisco’s popular Valencia Street, a young man wearing a black, Star Wars–themed Dia de Los Muertos T-shirt approaches and kindly greets me. As a native San Franciscan, Yañez grew up on 26th Street to parents who were both visual artists. In the 1970s, his father was a collage artist and curator, while his mother was a painter. Rene Yañez, his father, remains highly active in the Bay Area arts community today. Father and son have co-curated shows and worked in tandem, most recently on a 3-D art project enticing viewers into a rich dialogue both visually and physically. In addition, Yañez created 3-D conversions of his father’s other work. As co-founders of art group The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the duo silkscreen tortillas with chocolate ink and create edible works of art that serve as both interventions and experimental art.

One of the life-changing events for Yañez was turning to photography in high school. Soon after graduation in the late 1990s, he started the City College of San Francisco associate degree program in photography, marveling at two-megapixel cameras. He found something exciting and rewarding. He moved to Southern California to attend the prestigious California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where he received his bachelor’s degree in photography. Upon returning to the Bay Area, he wanted to mesh his photography skills with his love and fascination for sequential art. The end results were dynamic artworks that coalesced photography, drawing and new media. His childhood obsession with comic books resurfaced and can be seen in some of his most current works. Yañez continues to work digitally but is exploring

ways that he can apply his knowledge to other formats. With a fascination of moving GIFs, or cinemagraphs, he continues to pay homage to the San Francisco cityscape and memories that shape his spirited and energetic work.

Even with significant differences in medium, the common thread between Page and Yañez is the desire to illustrate San Francisco in a way that captivates and piques the curiosity of the viewer. Both artists utilize San Francisco as a subject, but Yañez shows how the city has grown, developed and changed over the past century. He successfully aims to show his San Francisco in such a way that any viewer—whether newcomer, transplant or native—is more than welcome to join in on the dialogue.

Upcoming Shows: Counterproof: The Other Side of Print at Incline Gallery with The Great Tortilla Conspiracy ~ April 13. To learn more about Rio Yañez visit his website. RioYanez.com

Originally posted to Asterisk SF Magazine. Please view here.

Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yanez

April 27, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ASTERISK SAN FRANCISCO GALLERY PRESENTS, Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yañez

Exhibition runs: Thursday, May 3, 2012 – Friday, June 1, 2012
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 3, 2012 7PM -9PM
3156 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Gallery hours: Wednesday to Saturday, from 11am -7pm

Asterisk San Francisco Gallery is pleased to present Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yanez, a collection of 3D drawings and photography.  Please join us on Thursday, May 3, 2012 from 7-9pm for the exhibition opening.

As a native San Francisco artist, curator, and photographer, Yañez includes the viewer into the art experience. This show is particularly meaningful as it is Yañez’s first solo exhibition in the neighborhood where he was raised. In Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yañez, three-dimensional works of his ongoing series, The Ramirez Sisters, depicting two siblings and their parallel lives in San Francisco’s Mission District takes on the form of sequential art. Although Yañez negates text, the images of the sisters evokes a strong sense of the how the city shapes the sisters’ individual identities. With his re-contextualization and imaginings of Frida Kahlo and Picasso inspired works, the images mesh into the contemporary fabric Yañez calls home. His photographic works depict the richness and vibrancy of San Francisco. Through Red and Cyan colored lenses, the dynamic simulation of being in these moments of creation is brought to the participant. The textures and scenes of the city enliven the urban landscape. The three-dimensional facet of the works are also kinetic and engaging as they lure the viewer into participating into the city’s infectious and energetic spirit.

About the Artist

Rio Yañez is a curator, photographer, graphic artist, and San Francisco artist. As a curator, he is a frequent collaborator with his father, Rene Yañez, and the two have been developing exhibits together since 2005. He has exhibited in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Tokyo. His reimaginings of Frida Kahlo have included the Ghetto Frida Project, a series of prints, writings, and performance pieces featuring a thugged-out Kahlo. Yañez is also a founding member of The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the world’s most dangerous tortilla art collective. Most recently, his work is featured alongside Miguel “Bounce” Perez and Susie “Tendaroni” Lundy in current exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at the De Young Museum. Yañez received his BFA in Photography from the California Institute of the Arts. He currently works and resides in San Francisco, California.

Web: http://rioyanez.com

About Asterisk San Francisco Gallery

Asterisk San Francisco Gallery is located in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District. The gallery was founded in January 2012 by Asterisk San Francisco co-founders Chief Editor, Jeremy Joven, and Managing Editor, Alex Winter. The gallery focuses on supporting emerging artists within the Bay Area community. It is also available for art openings and single evening events. Rental of the space is available upon request.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm. To visit, please visit us at 3156 24th Street (at Shotwell), San Francisco, CA 94110.

Web: http://asterisksanfrancisco.com