Marcela Gutierrez is the true embodiment of an incessant firecracker. She’s a fiery Sagittarius who loves the smell of breakfast and coffee in the morning. Her recent ventures have included illustrating a book on Isabella Blow, a trip to Manila to give a lecture on her work and preparing for her first solo show in LA which opened last Friday.
BULLETT: One of the first impressions I got from you when we first met was your energy. It was just overwhelming and so welcoming. So, since we are talking about energy…what did you have for breakfast?
Marcela: I had eggs, sunny side up!
On a scale from 1 to 100 how excited are you about today’s show? Tell us a little about it.
100!!! I gathered a collection of beautiful images that inspire me and I’ve done an interpretation of them in watercolor and gouache. I have a love affair with fashion and this is my way of paying homage to some of my favorite photographers and models. There are so many amazing fashion editorials out there that I feel get published and forgotten and I thought this could be a nice way of bringing them back to life. It’s beauty for the sake of it.
We have two things in common: we are both Latin Americans who can’t seem to stand still! How many cities have you been to this year? Do you have something favorite from each one of them?
This year I have been to Morocco for only 24 hours but I had enough time to enjoy the markets with all the different smells and colors. I also went to the Philippines, which reminded me so much of Latin America. I felt a special bond with the people; I fell in love with them. Last, but not least, I visited Philadelphia, New York and now Los Angeles. I’d been here before but this time around it’s been extremely productive, I haven’t stopped drawing since the day I arrived back to the states a couple of months ago.
How was your experience in Manila?
I had so many mixed feelings in Manila, firstly nerve- wracking because I had to give a conference at The OCD (The Office of Culture and Design) and secondly speak in public for the first time in my life. But, like I just mentioned, the people from the Philippines made me feel so at ease and at home that I managed to breeze through one of my biggest fears. The contrast between classes is very shocking. I’ve had that same feeling growing up in Guatemala, but it never ceases to impact me. One of the activities we worked on was such a great, rewarding experience: we visited a group of families that lived under a bridge and gave their kids drawing and collage lessons. Seeing all of those kids with genuine smiles in their faces is a life lesson all its own.
Your work takes photographs and portraits and gives them an extra layer of life through your brushstrokes and technique. How long does it usually take you to work in each one?
It really depends on so many factors, one of them is my mood and also the complexity of the photograph, it can take from one afternoon to 4 days. I am usually dictated by a deadline so I adapt and try and work as fast as I can.
You’ve said in an interview that observing your surroundings inspires you. Could you tell us one of the most recent things you’ve seen that inspired you?
This may sound silly but now that I’m in L.A. I’m so inspired by the random cast of characters all over the city… it’s a jungle out here! I’ve seen the most random outfits! I like when people dare to dress up and express themselves in their own way. The other day I saw a bearded man riding his motorcycle wearing nothing but a tiny mini skirt, a leopard print thong, a hot pink cropped halter top and electric blue eye shadow… love it!
What are you doing to celebrate your show once it’s wrapped up?
I would like to go dancing, but I’m also craving just rolling over in bed and falling asleep… I’ve been working so hard!