We had the good fortune of connecting with Yenny LeDoux Zarama and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yenny, how do you think about risk?
….I’ve always been a woman driven by challenges and challenges involve taking risks… Since I grew up in my native country Colombia, I have known the constant struggle necessary to get ahead in life and professionally. I come from a middle-class family that gave me everything I needed to graduate from high school and the strength to continue shaping my future by myself.
From a young age, I knew I had to take risks. I took risks and I started studying different careers at different universities. I studied Fashion Design, Photography, Business Administration, and Computer. Then, finally, I graduated as a Publicist from a private and well-known university with a major in Web design. At the same time, I decided to study English from 6 to 8 in the morning while I was working for Philip Morris throughout the day. I worked hard to finish my career as a Publicist. I was exhausted, but I had the desire to progress, so I continued my work by day and studying at night for 6 years and managed to graduate. I learned a lot from my experiences, and I got into everything related to the Arts. I wanted to take another risk and follow my passion, “The Arts”. My thought then was learning new paths of creativity that would differentiate me from others.
One day, like I did every year, I planned my birthday trip and decided to go visit Disney World. It was always my dream and when I arrived in the USA, I felt like I was at home. It was great being here, I traveled to different states and settled in Atlanta, GA where I bought a car, and someone offered me a job. I worked there with a company in the marketing field and later I worked for a newspaper. At the paper, I wrote, did photography, and also modeled. After that, I met a designer and moved into the Arts.
I have always been involved with the Arts. Since the beginning, I could not hide my passion for painting and photography. Once I had settled in the United States and after becoming a Citizen, I was given many opportunities to develop my skills as an artist. I started to be more constant and dedicated myself to art 100%, balancing my career and my family. I have two beautiful children Valentina 12 and Mateo 4.
I’ve been painting professionally for over 15 years, but I remember doing it all my life. I’ve always thought that committing one’s life to the Arts is a “risk”. It is a beautiful career that requires a lot of dedication, time, and love for art. It’s not a career for those chasing success, recognition, and lots of money. I have sold my paintings to all kinds of people. Mostly I paint on commission or I just sell what I create from my photographs. I have had the opportunity to have my paintings exhibited in different countries like Colombia, Aruba, Panama, Venezuela, and of course the United States. Living in the United States has opened the doors of different galleries, museums, hotels, and exhibition rooms. One of the most important and significant works for my career is at the downtown Nashville Public Library. I painted 4 large pieces that are part of a play called “The Amazing Twins”: Ancient Mayan tales from the Popol Wuj book. A puppet show created by Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin American Studies and the Nashville Public Library.
During the pandemic, I decided to create an extension to my painting business, ArtistZarama Face masks. These have been very difficult times and starting to wear masks were kind of weird for everybody. Because of my great love for my family and painting, I decided to use all my creativity and put it into the face masks that could encourage people to wear them to protect us from the Covid-19 virus. My passion for painting then made me create personalized masks that launched me as an entrepreneur in a new business. I have captured small pieces of art on a small canvas that can be worn on your face, I have included some reproductions of paintings from the old masters, I have also worked on family portraits, babies, pets, favorite animals, and hobbies. My clients felt that each of their masks told a personal and very unique story. It was a risk to start hand painting these small works of art on a large scale, but it has been a total success. Most likely after the pandemic is over, these works will end up on the walls of my clients as some of them have told me. I would be honored to see that.
Besides my passion for the Arts, some things I do are, working on my Oil paintings on a large size canvas, hand-painting the small-size face masks, volunteering for my kids’ school and church, and supporting my husband in our family business. I dedicate my life 100% to my family, my wonderful husband Vic that supports me on all my new adventures, and my 2 amazing kids Valentina (12) whose passion is reading and who helped me edit my story, and my little boy Mateo (4) who keeps me pretty active and motivated every day.
I never stop, and I love my kids to see and learn that dedication to do something you love will always reward you!!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My Art is full of feelings. It brings you memories, takes you places you would love to be in, enhances desires that have been hidden. My art communicates to others where people are in life or where you want to be. I always say, “When you find what you love either you dare to do it or not.” What makes you different is what will attract others to your work. In any field, be yourself and just find what defines you as a person and show it. That little thing fills your soul with joy. In my case color makes me happy and helps translate my mood. You will never see a painting by me with browns, sad tones, frustration, anger, or even death. Nooooo that is not me. My art is happy, full of life. My art is there to bring positive feelings about our surroundings and our moments in life. That is done either by the images I paint or simply by the colors I use. I can paint a couple of horses happily running on a field. That image can be black and white, but it will make you feel happy, appreciative, and excited. I can also paint an abstract piece like those pieces that you have to guess what the artist tried to say but the colors will make you feel wow. Brings admiration, happiness, satisfaction, etc. Anything positive! Love is implied in my paintings in different ways.
How did I got where I am today is by always having the desire to pursue my passion. I have painted all my life while at the same time I have been developing other activities. For example, I learn a second language, I graduated as a publicist, I received a master’s degree in advertising and web development. All while being able to travel the world. I worked as a teacher at a University where I was even younger than my students. I moved to the USA and started a new life missing my culture, my family, and my friends. I got married and I had kids while taking care of my family, myself, our business, and everything around it. Challenges were always around the corner. Sometimes I think I could write one of those awesome Colombian soap operas and just talk about my life. lol. It would be very entertaining. Sometimes having good times and sometimes really bad times. God has always been with me to lift me up and give me the strength to get back on track knowing where I wanted to go and be one day.
It has never been easy but I can’t say it has been that difficult. It also all depends on where you want to be and what is your objective is as an artist.
1. Sell what you love to paint? Probably.
2. Display your art? Most likely.
3. Share your thoughts and feelings through your paintings? Good idea.
4. Get rich? Not that often and can be frustrating.
There is so much a person learns from art and most take on new attributes from just being an artist. Regardless of the job conditions. When you are an artist, you will work long hours. Art teaches you to learn from the process and to make a piece of art that expresses what you feel best.
Art teaches you to go with the flow. Especially when you have no idea where you are heading to.
Creativity has no boundaries and that is one of the reasons I love art. When you think you made a mistake, there are many ways to fix it!
You can’t please everyone, definitely no matter what you expect people to see and like, they will always have their own opinion, likes and dislikes. Just accept that we all see the world in different shades and so the art. Be true to yourself and create what comes from the inside.
Art teaches you how to make something great out of nothing. I love watching artist videos and seeing the process of creating a piece that will represent someone’s feelings, thoughts, and desires. Minutes to hours later, like a miracle, you have in front of your eyes the final outcome.
Thank God for Art! I want the world to know it’s not easy being an artist. Artist are judge as irresponsible, lazy and even dreamers however, art isn’t just about splashing colors, It is a magic process where you create something from nothing, sometimes we make mistakes but we always learn from them, at times, even those mistakes make your piece of art even more outstanding. It is what makes it unique. Like in life, with art you can’t please everyone, realizing that and accepting it will make you feel more comfortable with what you are in life. It will be great if people will understand we don’t have to talk to communicate, around the world we can exchange thoughts, feelings, purposes and share your story with every art piece.
My story will show others that everything has a purpose. No matter how small it is and building on the little things will surely get you somewhere. Having to go through difficult times as an artist taught me the importance of perseverance and how, when you are determined to do something, nothing can stop you!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
How about I just tell you what I did a week ago when my best friend Marcela and her husband came to visit us? After picking them up at the airport we took them to enjoy a Latin meal at Uncle Julio’s a Mexican American restaurant that has spectacular Latin food. Rght after that we went to Jenni’s ice cream in Brentwood, TN. They had to rest so my house was the place to enjoy some glasses of wine before heading downtown to explore. Broadway is one of the most popular streets here. It is where the party starts and ends. There is live music everywhere and there are musicians playing their instruments on every corner. There is a great artistic feeling all around the city. We have tons of restaurants that overlook the scenic Cumberland river. We stopped at The Johnny Cash Museum to brush up on our country history and dinned on some fantastic southern food.
Next morning, we headed to the Frist Art Museum. It was awesome! There is always a main exhibit and luckily, they had a special exhibit of “Picasso”. After few hours exploring the museum and getting some souvenirs we head to the Gulch. It is a trendy new community in the heart of Nashville with boutique hotels. High rise condos, instagrammable murals, shops, live music venues, breweries, and a bunch of diverse culinary offerings. We had to stop and take a photo of the “what lifts you” mural. There are so many great murals here in Nashville. Later that night we had a reservation to visit The House of Cards. It is Nashville’s newest and most unique dining and entertainment experience. Inside you will find extensive history on magic, live magicians/illusionists and the most gourmet dining and hand-crafted cocktails.
The following day we went to Cheekwood, our botanical garden. Right next to it we visited the Belle Meade Mansion with a tour and wine while enjoying the history of the plantation. Finally, later that night we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
The next morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the very famous Loveless Cafe and we headed to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. Our zoo is beautiful. The installations are like a mini animal kingdom and they keep the animals in such a great environment that kids and adults enjoy visiting this place so much. It is a large place, so we spent the rest of our day around it. Nashville is awesome. Our people are always smiling and willing to help I love this city. Love it!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Well, different factors have contributed to my two passions. To start with My Oil Painting career, I would love to thank one of my mentors, Mrs. Shirley Pharris. Many years going to her Atelier gave me the push to be adventurous in different fields regarding my love for the arts. I explore different mediums such as Oils, Acrylics, Pencils, Charcoal, and Pastels. I used to be a single mom while I was balancing everything without my family support, she helped me push through. Being an immigrant, you have to get used to living away from your family. It was only me, Valentina, and my faith in God.
My husband Vic, and my new son Mateo, joined the team about 7 years ago. Since then, my family has been very supportive of my work as an Artist. They gave me a chance to focus on my work. I still have to balance the house, the kids, the dogs, and my painting time. My kids love to see my work on the walls, but they are absolutely proud of wearing the masks I have painted specially for them with their favorite themes. Mateo has monster trucks, trains, and hearts. Valentina has dancers, turtles, flowers, and hummingbirds. Anything they love they get it from me. My husband has also helped me promote my career with his clients and friends.
I would like to thank Andrea Chediak from Univision’s “Despierta America” This tv show is the top Spanish-language morning show in the country. Two-time Daytime Emmy Award winner for Outstanding morning program in Spanish. The TV show highlighted my Artwork in one of their segment tittles “LO MAS IN” which advertise new and creative products. They promoted my masks as something trendy during the pandemic. It was definitely a highlight for my mask painting career. They emphasized my love for the arts as the main tool to take the chance on working on this project. I was very lucky to see my creations on TV. Really exciting!! Thanks to all my friends, relatives, clients, online buyers, and everyone that in one way or another has supported my business and appreciates my work.
Linkedin: Yenny LeDoux
Youtube: Yenny LeDoux
Photos were taken by: 1. Valentina LeDoux (Art Photos and Artist) 2. Destin_photographer (Beach Photos, Family) 3. ArtistZarama Photographer (New born Photo)