Love is art, couple lets their paintings be the driving force of their success

Amanda Guillen

Amanda Guillen, Multimedia Editor

They are great people. They excel at combining social science work and their own creativity which is brought out through their art.”

— Josiah Heyman

When walking through the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts you’ll encounter walls covered in student art work.

Standing tall on opposite ends of a gallery space hang two pieces of art that coincide with one another. They seem to be glancing at one another with a look of intensity.

“Contained” is the name of the collaborative art pieces, but contained in this work is more than the colors and the strokes of the brushes against the canvas.

Lionel and Yennifer Palma are two of the 100 student artists selected to showcase their art work in the Rubin Center for “10 Squared: 100 Artists Celebrate UTEP’s Centennial.”  The “Juried Student Art Exhibition 2014” is an annual art exhibition where students enrolled in the Department of Art are given the opportunity to have their work showcased in the Rubin Center.

The difference between these two artists and the other 98 artists is the fact that not only do they collaborate in the art studio, but they also collaborate in life. Lionel and Yennifer will celebrate four years of marriage in November 2014.

Although they are in their 20’s they say that life with art and each other has been something that makes them feel complete.

Whether they’re hitting the books for their Anthropology classes or picking up the paint brush for a new piece of art work the Palmas keep a positive mindset on an unsettling future.

“We got caught up with thinking, what are we going to do for the rest of our lives cause we are both kind of inclined to do art and people tell us that we aren’t going to make any money and you start thinking of how hard it is to commute to school and how as students we have to work and go to school and a lot of times it’s hard to live a normal student life when you’re married, Lionel said.”

Through encouragement and love the Palmas have been the driving force to each other’s success in the classroom and within their marriage.

“He is an encouraging person, he is always trying to encourage not just myself but his friends as well. He is always trying to encourage them to do greater things and to believe in themselves, and even myself,” Yennifer said. Lionel is always telling me how I can be a better person.”

Anthropology professor and department chair Josiah Heyman said he is both proud and happy for the couple.

“They are good students, positive and enthusiastic students, I was their professor for anthropology and they were “A” students who always contributed to class discussion,” Heyman said. “They are great people. They excel at combining social science work and their own creativity which is brought out through their art.”

“I think our marriage and life for whatever it may be, is a challenge and she likes challenges so I guess that’s maybe why I love her,” said Lionel.

Amanda Guillen may be reached at [email protected]