Artist Marcela Gutierrez was born in Florida, raised in Guatemala, and educated in Mexico and London, where she studied art and fashion design. Today, she uses her globetrotting world view and mixed education to create art pieces that merge realism with the abstract in a truly unique way. We commissioned her to illustrate our Piamita lookbook, and we convinced her to spend a few minutes talking about her craft. Here, she shares insights into her artistic style and inspiration.
SHOPBOP: Some of your pieces have a near photoreal feel, while others are a little more abstract. How would you describe your unique artistic style?
MARCELA GUTIERREZ: I think it is a combination of both. I love realism in the eyes and faces of my portraits combined with an impressionistic feel in the rest of the painting, which, as a result, evokes firmness and energy. I feel a certain need to be studied and premeditated, and at the same time, I regard great importance in spontaneity, as it gives a feeling of vitality to a two-dimensional piece. I have a fascination with the visual world, and this is the way I can portray it best.
SB: You’ve done a lot of work illustrating within the fashion industry, and you have a degree from Central St. Martins. What led you and your art to the fashion world?
MG: I think it was a natural progression, as I have had a love affair with drawing for as long as I can remember. My other great love is fashion, and I think that may have developed from my mother—she had a very good sense of style, very effortless and elegant. So working as an artist and collaborating with fashion feels like the ideal thing for me to do.
SB: How do the illustrations you provide to designers and retailers compare to the personal work you do for private clients or for your own art?
MG: When there is a brief to follow, I naturally try to respond to the client's needs, although I always put the same amount of love and energy into every painting, whether it’s for a commercial purpose or a personal one. However, if it were up to me, I would only paint portraits. I just love to paint eyes!
SB: Is there a particular designer or artist that inspires you? Why?
MG: I have so many artists that inspire me, I don't know if I can pin it down to one. I love Christian Schoeler—he is like a renaissance artist of our time. I really love Jenny Saville, Elizabeth Peyton, Jeff Koons, David Hockney, Picasso, Matisse—the list goes on forever.
And as for designers, I am mad about what everything Phoebe Philo does. I also am a great fan of my dear friend Serafina Sama and her new label Isa Arfen. She has such a great aesthetic. She designs very desirable pieces that a girl just wants to live in!
SB: Can you tell us about some of your favorite past and recent projects?
MG: I think the Prada wallpaper was a great moment. It really did bring me to tears when I saw it for the first time. And of course the Beyoncé album cover was a big high and such an honor! Recently, I received a personal commission from Ezra Petronio from Self Service magazine—that really was a favorite!