Thinking Magically

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The paintings of Jorge A. Yances evoke a mysterious interplay between past and present, reality and fantasy, a style called magical realism. 

“I paint first and foremost because it is a necessity for myself. It’s something that I have to do almost every day, even if I take just the pencil and just draw on a blank paper. It is a feeling of satisfaction of the body and the mind to be able to create something,” he says.  

For more than 15 years, Yances has created paintings using vivid colors and delicate brushstrokes. Yances’ artwork has been critically acclaimed and exhibited throughout the United States, South America and Asia.

Jorges Yances

Magical realism is often described as “surreal,” and Yances says it was by chance that magical realism entered his life.   

“The magical realism part was not something I set out to paint because I did not know what it meant. I only knew of Gary Garcia Marquez and his magical realism literature,” he says. “A professor at the University in Tennessee came in my gallery downtown close to Hillsboro Village in Nashville and she said, ‘Your work is nice and it’s so magical realism.’ It was then after she explained what it was that I agreed that yes, my paintings can be called magical realism.”

Yances’ art contains complex hidden images. He describes magical realism this way:

 “Magical realism for me is expressing something that is inside of you. I let the painting pretty much be free. I don’t want to show what’s behind it. Sometimes there’s three or four different layers on the paintings,” he says.  “So, the faces and the bodies and everything that appears on my canvases, they are there. I don’t paint them.  They kind of reveal themselves.” Some of Yances’ drawings come from discoveries from his native city of Cartagena, Colombia. Yances emigrated to Nashville, TN with his family when he was 13. 

Jorge Yances

Yances says the teachings of a relative also influenced his art. “My aunt was also an artist. She taught my cousins and me. She wanted us to know the different between watercolor and oil painting, the smell of paint and just all the little details,” he says.

Yances says his aunt taught him that technique is not enough. Any artist can portray the beauty of a city, he says, but she encouraged him to reveal more than what may be visible. 

“It is more than paint on a canvas,” Yances says. “It is art which detects the power of the stories that surrounds all of us.”