The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is pleased to present Yerman: Peaks and Valleys, a new installation by Las Vegas artist Ryan Brunty. Created by Brunty as he was navigating the isolation and sadness of clinical depression in 2012, the melancholy figure of Yerman the Sad Yeti has become an avatar for the artist’s mental health awareness initiative, Depressed Monsters.
“One night I set up my drafting table and put on some music and started sketching out a little monster,” he recalled during an interview with Threadless in May, 2020. “One brush stroke led to another and there was Yerman on the paper. I looked at that little furry self-portrait and had my breakthrough moment realizing that this little creature was the true depiction of who I was …. I put it on Twitter and the reaction was super positive which helped me feel connected to the outside world again. Eventually I healed and became whole again but if it weren’t for Yerman, I wouldn’t be here today.”
The original watercolor sketch has grown into a series of Depressed Monsters murals, a clothing line, and engagements with Zappos, Coachella, and the Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival. After his initial posts about Yerman led to an appearance at The Moth NYC, Brunty went on to speak about his experiences with depression in front of other audiences around the United States. A portion of the money he makes from Depressed Monsters is donated to The Trevor Project, The JED Foundation, and other mental health organizations.
Yerman: Peaks and Valleys will be on view in the Barrick’s Window Gallery from August 17 to October 9, 2020. The Window Gallery is a collaboration between the UNLV Department of Art and the Museum. Yerman is located outside the museum building and can be viewed without making an appointment. Please be aware that visitors to the UNLV campus are required to wear a mask at all times. Visit our website for more details.