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Ernesto Yerena Artist Biography

Ernesto is a powerful force in social artistic and grassroots expression. His historic images have become an emblematic symbol in the quest for immigration reform.Ernesto Yerena Montejano was born in the small border town of El Centro, California, just 15 minutes north of Mexicali. His father first exposed him to painting, colours, and art. My dad is a car painter; he does auto bodywork and painting, he explained in an interview. His father would work from home and Ernesto grew up around him painting cars. His father showed him how to cut stencils and on his tenth birthday his grandfather gave him a cutting set.Another birthday present, from his dad this time, stirred up Ernestos social conscience. He was given a computer, around the time Microsoft Windows 95 first came to market, and it came with an Encarta (Encylopedia) CD which had four songs, one of which was by Public Enemy. The song was very social and talked about Black communities and ghettos, from there I also kinda listened to Mana (Mexican rock band), and all these guys were talking about social struggles and whats going on in the world. His own social and political vision expanded as his list of musical influences grew to include Rage Against the Machine and Los Tigre del Norte. His bicultural and bilingual influences with music helped him to get a better handle on the underlying racism and social inequalities that plague America and made him realize his geographical position, From there I was like, I feel I am in the middle, I was pretty young when I kinda noticed that I lived in the border. Regularly crossing the border to visit family, Ernesto had access to the free education of the first world and the cultural richness of the third world. His geographical landscape, border life, socially conscious music, and deep interest in history and human rights awakened his intellectual curiosity. Ernesto began college at the age of 17 and subsequently received his BA in Graphic Design. At 19 he began working as an artist assistant to Shepard Fairey, the street artist known for frequently incorporating social justice and political themes in his work. In his artwork, Ernesto focuses mainly on cultural subjects and issues within the Chicano community. As an artist he tackles the fierce issue of immigration in America and his work depicts his frustrations with the oppression in his community, as well as his interest in the defence of dignity. Ernesto uses several techniques in his art including stencils, collages, and rubyliths. Many of his pieces combine his knowledge of airbrushing and stencilling as well as street art. Through his brazen imagery of cultural icons, rebels, and everyday people, Ernesto brings his political concerns to light and voices his stance against oppression. You can see him at work in this short video... Ernesto Yerena - Soldado De Las Ganas from Abraham Manuel Caldern on Vimeo.In 2008 Ernesto created the Hecho Co Ganas publishing project, which produces political images in the form of limited edition silkscreen prints. As the founder and curator of the Alto Arizona Art campaign (2010) and a founding member of the We Are Human campaign (2009), he has become highly recognized for his activism.Ernesto has collaborated with artists such as Zack de la Rocha, Shepard Fairey, Manu Chao, Ana Tijoux, Philip Lumbang, Exist 1981, Diane Ovalle, and Mochilla.Read our editorial featuring Ernesto Yerena: The Art of Politics and The Politics of Art Ernesto Yerena: Art Without Boarders

More art prints from Ernesto Yerena

Castro - Green By Ernesto Yerena
Che - Green By Ernesto Yerena
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