Joshua Yearout is a visual artist first and foremost, but football may hold more weight in his eyes.
Draped in an autographed Kansas City Chiefs jersey – with another Chiefs jersey serving as an undershirt – the 32-year-old Lee’s Summit man is not shy about his preference.
“Football is better,” Yearout said May 28 as he and a group of volunteers helped set up space at the Cultural Arts Center on the campus of Metropolitan Community College-Longview. Yearout will be a featured artist from June 11-July 26 at the Cultural Arts Center. His solo exhibition of paintings and sculpture, entitled “Game Over,” will debut with an opening reception from 4 to 7 p.m. June 5. “I like football better.”
Although Yearout, who is autistic, is passionate about football and his beloved Chiefs his artwork speaks volumes, said Daniel Reneau, gallery curator of the Cultural Arts Center.
“Strong abstraction,” Reneau said. “It’s really strong abstraction. When he first showed me the pieces I thought, ‘these are fantastic.’ The arts now are not about skill anymore, it’s not about technicality and whether it looks like a person. The arts have expanded so much that creative expression and abstraction is being celebrated. People can look at this and feel a lot of meaning behind it. He’s an artist and we’re viewing it that way.”
Yearout’s exhibition is presented by Imagine That Kansas City, a non-profit art studio for adults with developmental disabilities. Brandon Frederick, outreach coordinator for the organization, said Yearout’s abilities with paint and canvas is awe-inspiring.
“It’s been a goal he’s had for a long time,” Frederick said of Yearout’s pending exhibition in Lee’s Summit. “He’s wanted to have a show; he’s come to several shows I’ve been to. We’ve been trying to find something and I wanted to find something in Lee’s Summit that would also be good for his own community to connect with in this way.”
“Game Over” displays Yearout’s multi-layered art that references 1980s and 90s culture and iconography. He often reuses and repurposes his favorite icons, the backbone of what Frederick called Yearout’s roaming and eclectic nature.
Similarly, Frederick added, Yearout’s studio practice is one of recycling; often using found objects, reusing materials, breaking them back down, building them, and then recreating once again. The practice is prevalent in his paintings too, where they become heavily layered, covered, cut apart, reassembled, and sometimes double sided.
Yearout teased that it takes five minutes to create his artwork.
Frederick has seen him work, and although five minutes is an exaggeration, Yearout’s visions takes shapes rapidly and fluently over the course of six to eight hours.
“The best way I can describe Joshua is if he could paint the world, that’s kind of the way he is,” Frederick said. “He’s really about the process. He loves it.”
And if it needed to be reminded where Yearout’s other passion lay, he’s quick to offer a refresher course.
“You look like a Chiefs’ player,” the playful Yearout said as he made a beeline towards an unassuming reporter. Yearout offers a bear hug disguised as a form football tackle as he parts ways with his temporary opponent. “You could play for the Chiefs.”
For more information on Yearout’s exhibition, visit www.imaginethatkc.blogs
pot.com or www.mcckc.edu.