1 in 33,000: Finding passion and inspiration through art

Alan Der Ohannessian

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Hector Hernandez, 19-year-old psychology major, uses his drawing skills and careful attention to detail to foster his growing talent in stencil art. Photo Credit: Alan Der Ohannessian / Staff Reporter

Most typical teenagers go to the movies, watch games or play sports for fun. However, Hector Hernandez isn’t your typical teenager. The soft spoken and long-haired student with eye glasses has a passion for stencil art.

For those who aren’t familiar with this concept of art, it’s really simple.

First, you take a piece of cardboard and  prepare a template of your desired picture.  Then you paint the design which gets replicated on the cardboard, said Hector Hernandez, a 19-year-old junior, majoring in psychology.

He was first inspired after seeing a stencil art picture of a child riding a swing on the walls of the parking lot of ITA-CHO; a Korean restaurant where he works as a valet.

“It inspired me because at first glance it looked simple, but when you stopped to look…it was amazing to see such details on a stenciled picture,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez feels stencil art compliments his drawing level.

“My skills are basic,” he said in a humble voice. “It (stencil art) speaks to the youth because of its simplicity.”
His passion for art was apparent when he was in high school.

“I won a $100 scholarship at Fulton College Prep in seventh grade,” Hernandez said.  “Ms. Agnus, the art teacher, gave it to the most improved student over the past two years.”

Aside from working as a valet, Hernandez has made some money from his new found hobby.
“So far, I’ve done 15 of my own stencils and I’ve sold four T-shirts for $5, each to my friends from high school.”

He has already found a way to get his T-shirts for cheap.

“I get four shirts for 10 bucks at the San Fernando Swap Meet,” Hernandez said.  “However, in other clothing stores, a shirt would cost between $8 and $10.”
Usually, it takes Hernandez about 45 minutes to finish a stencil art picture. However, it takes only 20 minutes using the machine for this kind of art.

“It cuts out using lemonade plastic,” Hernandez said.
However, the machine costs $9,000, a hefty price tag for a college student.

Last year, on Valentine’s Day, Hernandez made a stencil art T-shirt of a rose for his girlfriend, and it was no easy task.

The rose was complicated because it was small but he wanted it to be the size of a regular paper. After messing up twice, Hernandez was upset because he didn’t apply enough pressure on the stencil so the paint didn’t stay in the designated area and the picture looked crooked. However, he said it was a learning experience.

Despite little success, Hernandez said he won’t call it a business opportunity yet, because he wants to find a secure job as psychologist.
Hernandez advises stencil art beginners that this kind of art takes “patience and (paying) attention to details.”