An artist teacher


Julius Ceja, Staff Reporter

Lauren Yurkovich, or as many people know her, Ms. Y., is an art and photography teacher. However, people might not know the story behind such a talented artist. Yurkovich is also an illustrator, drawing for books, rock band posters, logos and many other things we see in our day to day. 

Originally, Yurkovich didn’t go to school to be a teacher, but she actually got a degree in illustration and printmaking. Yurkovich has always done art, majoring in social commentary and editorial illustration, and growing up around art as much as she did, it’s no wonder she’s so skilled.

“My grandmother and great grandmother painted, and my mother is an accomplished seamstress, she made her own wedding dress and all of that,” Yurkovich said. “My dad taught photography and we even had a darkroom, so I’ve always grown up in a house that allowed and encouraged creativity. But teaching came later, much later.” 

During her time in school, art was the only class that challenged her to think outside the box. She wasn’t naturally good, and she had to work to become a better artist because she believes that “anyone can learn to be a fabulous artist if they’re willing to just work at it.” Seeing herself go from being bad to good, and slowly rising above her peers was quite an accomplishment for her.

But when the recession hit, being a teacher was just a thought that Yurkovich had, and wouldnt be realized fully until much later. Choosing that path was something that would change her life. Being a third year generation teacher at Sequoia as well as an artist is surely tough, but she enjoys her job. 

“I don’t think I would really enjoy doing either job by itself. Each job fills a different part of my soul and desires. My creative needs are fulfilled by my work as a professional artist. The humanity and the connections are fed by the work I do with kids, it really is inspiring,” Yurkovich said.

Nowadays, Yurkovich has had art displayed on three continents, including but not limited to locations such as Taiwan, Tokyo, London, and Saudi Arabia. She’s had plenty of her work displayed in San Francisco, and is even a member of the Haight Street Art Center, a non profit organization dedicated to the celebration, education and production of poster art. 

At the beginning of the year, a few students will surely doubt themselves in their abilities, but Yurkovich’s teaching methods quickly put those doubts aside and allowed for growth and improvement. 

“Ms. Y pushes us to try things we usually wouldn’t do when drawing, and the art we make because of it is amazing. She’s like some sort of wizard,” an anonymous student said. 

“Art is certainly something. Sometimes I wish we had more creative time instead of just focusing on realism, but we have more freedom on the projects we are doing now which is something I like,” junior Cindy Tran said.

Along with being the only photography teacher, Yurkovich’ss schedule must surely be rough, but she still finds a way to make the class enjoyable and educational for her students. 

“Ms. Y has taught me a lot of things that helped me with my photography. She’s just a really nice person, and she’s been a really good mentor the three years I’ve had her as my teacher,” senior Evelyn Harrington said.