Artist: Andrea Gutierrez
Media: Installation, gesso, wood, coffee grinds
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Werby Gallery
About the Artist
Ms. Gutierrez is pursuing her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a Painting and Drawing Concentration at Cal State Long Beach. She informed us she was previously a barista for 7 years, which is what inspired her pieces. Prior to living in Long Beach she lived in Las Vegas, and seems to have been very inspired by her time here. She admitted that her pieces, all of which were created last semester, are more about the material used and less about their content/significance. She looks forward to continuing her coffee grind project in the future by incorporating more “content.”
Her pieces are very different in form and appearance overall, but they all use the same material. She honed in on her experience as a barista to create pieces based off coffee grounds and filters. In A1 (the picture shown below), entitled “The Coffee Shop”, there are many undulating lines and curves. The building stands tall and is very straight and seemingly modern. Created on with gesso and oil on canvas, this piece embodies her feelings toward her former place of work– the coffee shop.
Gutierrez did an exemplary job in mixing mediums and creating unique works of art. As I mentioned prior, she said her work was less about content and more about the medium. Her pieces “The Coffee Shop” and “The View Inside” are shown below. For her work entitled “The Owners”, one of her larger pieces which was about 48×72 inches, the burlap straps she used have explicit meaning. The black straps, totaling 11 in all, represent the amount of years the owners had the coffee shop, and the burgundy straps represent how long she worked there. By working with the coffee grinds she attempted to incorporate a major part of her life (being a barista) into her life as an art student. She said that her and the other artists from the gallery all tried to do this with their work, creating an identity individual to them.
Synthesis / My Experience
One of my favorite things about Gutierrez’s work was the absolute originality in the art. Never before had I seen coffee grinds being used as an art medium. It was very interesting. I think it’s very important that one not forget where they came from when they move on to pursue bigger and better things. Gutierrez’s experience at the coffee shop made her who she is today, and transforms her art into something remarkable. I, too have had a substantial amount of experience working in customer service, particularly the food industry, and her pieces resonated with me because of it.