by Mercedes Gail Gutierrez
I started as a scientist and graduated a scientist and an artist. After sophomore quarters in Stanford in France, Group VIII, on the advice of my advisor, I switched majors from Pre-Med to Studio Art. The switch from the sciences to the Humanities had begun in France where I had to prove theories personally than on laboratory observation, chemical laws and proven formulae.
Studio Art may sound like fun and play, but making art is agonizingly challenging. It utilizes both sides of my brain, scientific and aesthetic. It is a full- time job, filled with painful moments and days perfecting techniques, planning and some days looking and questioning, but when it is right it is glorious. Before I was twenty-seven, I spent a year on a Fulbright-Hays fellowship in Madrid, completed a Masters in Sculpture at U. C. Berkeley in 1971, and showed in Bay Area museums and galleries.
I have continued making and showing art in a series of solo shows all over the United States and the world. Opportunities just open up. After an intense creative period a hiatus occurs when I have used up what I need to say. There may be years of smaller works, projects, teaching, and learning to maintain a visual edge, until the next burst of creative focus occurs usually in a new medium or genre.
I stayed married to my Stanford beau, raised three outstanding children, taught Western Civilization and World History at local colleges and at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, and volunteered doing social action programs in the communities where I lived.
After 20 years as the Arts Program Administrator for the statewide multi-disciplinary Fine Arts program in adult prisons, Arts-in-Corrections, California Department of Corrections (and Rehabilitation), I am now Arts on the Loose. I retired in 2004, freed of the bars, door locks, yard noise, lock downs, bolted down metal tables, swinging keys, inmate counts, endless administrative meetings and budget fights. I was ready to do something new. I made Aliyah (immigrated) to Israel, got an apartment in Netanya, a studio in Tel Aviv and started again making and showing art, mono-prints and conceptual installations.
With the arrival of grandchildren, I returned to California ready to take on new creative and social challenges
Try new things, take the challenge, be more than you are, flourish where you land, change the world around you, keep moving on, honor whom you are with.