As early as kindergarten Ray Yano sensed he had a natural ability in painting. During art sessions in elementary school his teachers asked how he was able to paint the way he did. Unexplainable at the time he simply said, "that's how it looks". Ray grew up on the north side of Chicago attending local public schools. In high school he received an art award for after school art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. With this introduction into the world of fine art he took several classes during that summer. He seriously considered continuing his art education after graduating high school, but also displayed an ability in the sport of gymnastics. University coaches were eagerly recruiting potential team members and simplified for him the college admission process. Ray was soon on the varsity gymnastics team enjoying the
excitement of competition. The university offered a design curriculum with a philosophy more in keeping with his exploratory nature. His design instructors had previously split from the American Bauhaus established School of Design in Chicago. Their approach to design education preferred a broad ranging education rather than technique specialization. In addition to Bauhaus influenced instructors, the department also had as research professor, the visionary Buckminster Fuller.
After graduating with a B.A. degree, Ray joined the Peace Corps only to find a misfit application of his personality and education. Exiting the Peace Corps he then quickly enlisted in the Naval Air Reserves to fulfill his military obligation. In 1966, after finishing six months active duty training, Ray drove out to Southern California to apply his visionary design education. His broad based education, that ranged from graphic design to site planning and urban design, secured a position as a city planner for the City of San Diego. Drawn to the life style in Los Angeles he applied for a position with the Los Angeles Planning Department. Ray was hired by the L.A. Planning Department and worked from 1967 to 1971 in the Advanced Planning Division.
Ray eventually realized that he needed to find a profession with more creative freedom which led him towards entrepreneurship. He was able to achieve a certain amount of independence, but throughout the years found himself dedicated to fine art painting, his true calling.
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