courtesy of Daniel I. Yanez

Visual Arts

Artist Daniel I. Yanez Once Was Homeless

Now the Dallas artist, also known as Artist DIY, is commissioned to paint murals for the country's largest owner of single-family rental houses.

Dallas artist Daniel I. Yanez (aka Artist DIY) was commissioned to paint a mural for the corporate office of Invitation Homes. But up until the day of the unveiling, the company didn’t know that Yanez had once been homeless.

Elizabeth “Jiggs” Foster, senior vice president of marketing and customer experience at Invitation Homes, says the company provided a “brief” about its mission—“Together with you, we make a house a home”—and selected Yanez from a handful of artists suggested by the Commerce House advertising agency.

Yanez, who opened a gallery in Oak Cliff in 2012 and launched the Basement Mural Project to beautify vandalized walls in Dallas, has created hundreds of works of art and murals across the city. In 2014 and 2015, the Dallas Observer named him one of “The Top 100 Most Creative” in the area. He has been featured in a variety of publications, including D Home.

The original mural was painted by Yanez for Invitation Homes on a building at 1730 S. Akard St. in South Dallas. Once it was completed, the company took a photo and replicated it in vinyl for display at Invitation’s Comerica Bank Tower headquarters. There, the work measures more than 33 feet wide by more than 12 feet high.

The mural features matrix typography in the background that spells out Neighborhood, Community, Family, and Home. It shows a family and its dog outside on a neighborhood street, incorporating colorful greens and blues.

Yanez was invited to the unveiling and was asked to sign the art. “The management team asked him to tell them about his inspiration,” Foster recalls, explaining that they expected to hear how he came up with the matrix typography. “He proceeded to tell us that he grew up homeless, and he painted his own dream as a 7-year-old boy. We were just speechless.”

Yanez’s artwork has since been replicated on a smaller scale in the company’s field offices.

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