If art is magic
If art is to inspire
if art is a weapon
if it is medicine used to heal soul wounds
or if it makes one not feel alone in his or her visions
or if it serves as transportation to a higher self
then that is where I aspire to live everyday
Rudy Detres Gutierrez calls his work a “gumbo,” as it includes a mixture of elements or “languages.” He defines it as “great, universal, magic, beyond, order.” Gutierrez’s gumbo is brought to us in layers of reality combined with layers of spirit, which are formed by flat, tonal, real, abstract, raw, and refined figurative “scenes.” Sometimes, it is a deconstruction of the real; at other times, it’s finding the reality in the amorphic. At all times, he stresses, “it is about connecting.”
Gutierrez’s work has been described as “Wall Medicine” – ancient yet contemporary, urban in sense and musical in feel. The intention of his work is to touch people and its ever shifting sofrito combines sophistication and so-called primitivism, refinement and rawness, dancing between ancestors and acquaintances alike.
:: Spirit Seeker ::
Just like the indigenous cultures and societies that Gutierrez says influence him, he sees his art not as a separate action but as an extension of who he is. He is very much an American artist, born and raised in the U.S., yet of Puerto Rican descent, so one can easily see in his work the values of Latin American traditions, where visual contents relate closely to political and social contexts. Gutierrez’s art reflects his deep-rooted concerns about human rights, ethic heritage and identity, popular culture, and magical spiritual manifestations found in everyday life. His pop culture references harken to heroes, angels, kings, queens and spirits both known and unknown.
Gutierrez cites his Pre-Columbian and African influences, which are easily seen as a form of rejection of established values and the constant presence of colonization. It is indeed an affirmation of his own identity. Gutierrez chooses to merge the visual parallels of the African and the Indian with an urban and world musical sensibility, thus forming the “gumbo” that is his painting. The work represents his walk through life as he inspires others to see their own “divinity.”
:: A Musical Journey ::
He believes he has a responsibility with his art to “inspire and uplift others to reach into their spirits to do whatever they do best.” Gutierrez wants to help others conquer the borders, categories and labels that develop into boxes of fear, explaining:
“It is about allowing the magic that surrounds me to infiltrate the surface so that I can humbly translate for the purpose of communicating with and for those who maybe don’t have the ability to do so.”
Rudy Gutierrez’s art has been described as Wall Medicine, ancient yet contemporary, urban in a sense and musical in feel. His distinctive spirit driven paintings are recognizable for their energy and passion and speak to the ills of inhumanity as well as celebrate the Divinity of us all.
Born in the Bronx, New York City and later raised in Teaneck N.J. Gutierrez attended and graduated from Pratt Institute and lived and worked in NYC for over twenty years before recently relocating to NJ.
He believes that the highest honor and fulfillment is to inspire and uplift and is passionate about breaking down labels, categories and borders with the notion that art should also live outside of the Gallery. To this end Gutierrez has used various corporate commissions and this has led to his highly recognizable presence in the art world.
His paintings have been seen and exhibited worldwide and he has been commissioned for various periodicals, book covers, magazines, records, CD’s, and children’s books. The award winning artist includes the Dean Cornwell Recognition Hall of Fame Award (Since 1958, the Society of Illustrators has elected to its Hall of Fame artists recognized for their distinguished achievement in the art of illustration. The list of winners is truly a Who’s Who of illustration), Distinguished Educator in the Arts Award, International Labor Communications Association Honor and a Gold Medal from the NY Society of Illustrators among his honors. His children’s books have earned him a Pura Belpré Honor, Américas Book Award, and a New York Book Award. His work has been featured by Communication Arts, Step by Step, Society of Illustrators, Art News, American Artist and Art Direction Magazine.
His art hangs in the private collections of musical icons Carlos Santana, Clive Davis and Wayne Shorter among others.