You’ve likely seen the bright, colorful and culturally diverse artwork of Ernesto Ybarra, one of the faces of our “Local, Seasonal, Personal” campaign. We’re diving a bit deeper to introduce you to Ernesto and what inspired him to become a painter.
In 2015, as a relatively new craftsperson, Ernesto Ybarra, started selling his paintings on-and-off at Pike Place Market. Last year, he decided to make the jump to sell in the crafts market consistently. As a young man, Ernesto tried to cultivate his artistic talent through photography but ultimately found his creative freedom limited behind the lens of his camera. In search of a medium in which he could fully express himself through, he decided to try his hand at painting and never looked back.
As a self-taught painter, Ernesto has developed his distinctively vibrant style over the past 18 years. Natural inspiration for his art include his Mexican-American culture—stating “there are no rules of color in Mexico, which can be seen in the overuse and clashing of colors in Mexican art”—but much more than a Mexican artist, Ernesto emphasizes other influences on his work, such as time spent living California and New Mexico, or things he’s learned about life and his role as a son, grandson, brother, father and colleague.
When asked what he wants people to know about the Pike Place Market, Ernesto had this to say:
“There’s more to the Market than what people first think of—there’s a whole world of hardworking people, expressing themselves through their work and literally putting themselves on display for people to look at. The artists here are incredible and inspiring. We support each other and encourage each other to grow. I encourage visitors to take time to appreciate the art and to learn about the artists.”
One of Ernesto’s favorite memories at the Market is when one day after he had set up his display of paintings, a couple walked up to his table. The wife looked over his pieces, pointed out one and said, “I like that!” When her husband asked why she liked it, she simply replied, “I just do,” and bought the painting without even asking the price.
You can find Ernesto and his paintings set up in the North Arcade or, when the weather starts to warm up, on the sidewalk just outside the North Arcade.