Commercial vs. Personal Art-Work. Carlos Gutierrez Interview.

Interview Carlos Gutierrez


Hello, Carlos. We are really glad and thankful that you could join us on this interview and share your thoughts, art-work and opinions with us. Let’s start!

Can you tell us, a little bit about yourself? What’s your background?

Hi Malinka, first of all, thank you for inviting me to this interview and for opening this creative spaces. Well, I started as a digital photographer, working mostly with portraits and on finding beauty in the ordinary day—to—day activities of the chaotic Mexico City. However, nowadays I’m a film photographer.

I’m based in Mexico City. This city has watched me grow as I’ve seen her expansion too. As a child I was in close contact with the people of my neighborhood. Markets and town gatherings in my building drove my attention all the time, specially the vibrant colors and the liveliness of everything. That´s why I’ve always been attracted to meet new people in a respectful way, and to capture them though a photo.

What does your work aim to say?

Lately I’ve been divided between two types of work – the work that pays the rent, the publicity business that simply says and shows what brands are trying to sell. On the other hand, my personal work, especially my portraits, mostly tries to give a voice to the people that I photograph, show in just a frame a part of who they are. In a brief summary that would be it.

How has your practice changed over time?

Time has given me more and more tools to learn, as well as watching fellow colleagues work and learning the best I can from them, looking by myself for new editing tools, learning new processes and then applying it to my personal work. That has been a weird balance, since I´ve felt that, unfortunately, some of my work has gone more to a commercial side and left the more artistic side of me behind. But on the plus side, with this commercial side I’ve learned more techniques than I ever thought I would. 

How do you balance these two worlds? Is there something you dislike about the art world?

It’s definitely a tricky balance since my commercial work gets way more distribution and accessibility than my personal one; at the end of the day I get remembered for the art that I like less. And that’s probably what I dislike the most about the art world… that it’s not really accessible, at least not in Mexico. Or even if it’s accessible it doesn’t have the necessary promotion. Especially the distinction between public and private art.

If this distinction didn’t exist, what would your dream project be?

Documentary video of the diverse life of various communities in Oaxaca, Mexico.

As a Mexican artist, what do you think of the Mexican art world and education?

I truly believe it should be promoted at early stages of childhood and that the “you’re not going to make a living out of being an artist” tabu should be completely removed from our mindset. Mexico has tremendous cultural and artist potential, however it’s not promoted correctly and should have a better public offer instead of just the privatized one. So, I’m really glad that spaces like exist, spaces that are trying to break this division and actually impulse the arts.

This has been a real treat Carlos, thank you so much for joining us and giving us a little insight of your artistic career. And finally, Carlos, a bonus question:  if you had you choose only two spices to eat for the rest of your life, which ones would you choose and why?

Pepper and salsa but actual spicy salsa that just makes everything a little better.

Thank you so much for this wonderful time. 

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