Raul Hernandez, a 77-year-old man with a passion for art does what he can to help the artists of the future.
Hernandez helps young artists at EPCC hone their skills as a nude model for the Life Drawing class taught by professor Frank Rimbach.
“At one time I wanted to be an artist I wanted to paint and do beautiful things,” Hernandez explained “I love art, but when I started painting I knew I was not going to be able to make a living out of painting because I’m not good.
Claudia Silva / Tejano Tribune
Raul Hernandez is standing on the
stage where he does modeling for art classes.
So therefor I said maybe I can help someone get better.”
Hernandez has been a nude model for over 21 years now and has no intention of stopping any time soon.
His modeling career started when he taught dance at UTEP and eventually moved on to modeling at EPCC to stay closer to his home.
He learned about the opportunity “through conversation with other people,” Hernandez explained, “he said well you can earn some more money if you model in the nude for the art department and I said ok.
”Hernandez emphasized that he enjoys the experience because of how welcoming it is to people of all shapes and sizes.
He explained that anyone can be a nude model “whether your old, whether you’re young, whether your using a cane or disabled.”
While his modeling career at EPCC has lasted many years his relationship with the college has lasted even longer.
Hernandez has worked for EPCC since the college opened almost 50 years ago, he started off as a Spanish teacher when the school was at Logan Heights Fort Bliss.
Claudia Silva / Tejano Tribune
Jose Alejandrez an EPCC student at the Valle Verde campus drew Raul Hernandez during one of the art classes as an assignment.
"I have been working for El Paso Community College since before it was El Paso Community college, with Dr. De Los Santos,” he stated.
As the college grew Hernandez moved on to start teaching ballroom and country dance classes at Valle Verde and Transmountain.
He has also always had a love for dancing, he reached “gold status” at Arthur Murray Dance studios where he was certified to teach ballroom dancing.
While he is certainly passionate about the arts Hernandez has worn many hats throughout his life from teaching college Spanish and dance classes, to coaching, teaching high school biology and even working at a funeral home.
Hernandez explained he has a fascination for the human body and its anatomy, and this is what allowed him to work so closely with death.
“You know people are afraid; I think the body is a beautiful thing and there you see a whole bunch of bodies,” stated Hernandez, “very old, very young, middle aged, young people, and of course with dead bodies you have to dress them. I see nude people, so I said to myself why not when I’m alive?”
Professor Rimbach would like to invite art students at EPCC to register for the Life Drawing class, he explains they often have trouble filling the class but hope more students will take the opportunity to use this to learn about art and the human anatomy.
For now, you can see some of the work done by the Life Drawing class hung on the hallway walls of the art department and get a chance to see the growth of artists in progress.