His mother took dictation on small sheets of carefully folded paper. Two year-old Joe Yakovetic provided the pencil sketches for his first picture book. Neither of them realized it was the beginning of the young artist’s distinguished career. From Long Island to Los Angeles, the long and winding road led Yakovetic to create fine art, sculpture, set designs, costumes and theatre designs for the likes of Disney, Honda and Warner Brothers.
“I never really thought about being an artist, it just happened. “ In his youth, Yakovetic used art to embellish school assignments, amuse friends and amaze adults. At 16, he worked for the Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park as an artist. When he joined the trade show circuit, it was a dream come true. The money was good and according to Yakovetic, “I was young, small of stature and, as a caricaturist, I was fast. People thought I was a wunderkind.”
“My parents weren’t sure about my having an art career until they saw my first check. I earned almost as much as my dad did in a month.” That income stream enabled Yakovetic to put himself through Cal-State Fullerton where he earned a BA in Fine Art with a Theatre Minor.
From the beginning, Yakovetic’s amazing ability to imitate all styles of art was a source of frustration for his professors. “They kept telling me to develop my own style.” Fortunately, that skill is the very thing that enables Yakovetic to work as an artist – whatever style of art you want, he can do.
While working as a contract artist/designer for Disney, Yakovetic created a series of still life paintings for the Disneyland Gallery. Instead of Mickey Mouse, he painted artifacts from the movies. Yet, there in the shadows of the scene, would be a hidden Mickey, a Tinkerbell or the image of Walt Disney.
“I understand why people are drawn to my Disney art,” mused the artist, “but my other work…there is a spark that draws them into the world I create, into a moment in time, into a space that resonates with God.”
That resonant chord is what draws people to the Yakovetic Fine Art web site. Yakovetic has a line of licensed fine art paintings from the iconic movies “Gone With The Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz and It’s A Wonderful Life.”
“One of my favorite pieces is “The Stuff Life Is Made Of” featuring Ann Rutherford.” While Rutherford (Corrinne O’Hara) was making the movie, the sign at Twelve Oaks had a profound impact on her. It warns not to squander time “for that is the stuff life is made of.” The quote made such an impression on the young actress that she was never again late for anything.
When asked what he wanted people to see in his work, Yakovetic paused, then his voice broke, “I want them to know that nothing I do on my own is in that painting. I want people to see God in whatever I have created. It is God who gets the glory.”