Meet Featured Artist, Heidi Gutierrez!
Gutierrez's artwork is on display now until December 27 at our University location, 2606 Guadalupe St.
The daughter of a single mother growing up in Juarez, Mexico, Gutierrez was raised in a traditional household, where art was considered more of a hobby than a viable career choice.
Gutierrez obtained a Master's degree in math from the University of Texas at El Paso and after graduation, she landed a stable job teaching high school math. Her love of art never left her, and she would come home from work and think to herself, "I wish I could paint." Eventually, she got ahold of some Bob Ross videos and began recreating his paintings, but always adding her own twist. She found painting to be relaxing; a kind of meditation. People responded well to her paintings and Gutierrez began giving them away as gifts.
One summer Gutierrez visited Austin and when she developed the itch to leave El Paso, the Capital City was the first option to come to mind. In Austin, she found herself teaching high school math once again. Gutierrez she told us, "I hung some of my paintings on the classroom walls to brighten up the space and I noticed a shift in my student’s behavior. They enjoyed my artwork, and they would ask me questions like, 'why are you teaching math when you’re an artist?'"
Upon moving to Austin, Gutierrez began taking painting more seriously. Living in a city that supports a creative class, Gutierrez felt more freedom to express herself as an artist. She became inspired when she began meeting other artists, and thought to herself, "Maybe if I practice more, I can be an artist too.” Her passion for painting drove her to take classes in New York City and Bali, Indonesia. She continued to receive positive feedback about her work, and that helped her develop self-confidence as an artist.
To this day, painting remains a method of meditation for Gutierrez. "We’re all so busy, and a lot of times we don’t stop to appreciate the beauty of the world. I want to paint what I need to see; the things we so often miss," Gutierrez told us. She continued, "We need to appreciate nature more and get off the phone." Painting serves to uplift Gutierrez's mood and she believes an important purpose of art is to be uplifting.
Today, Gutierrez is still teaching, but her focus has switched from math to art. She also coaches on the subjects of improv, poetry, and chess.
As a teacher, Gutierrez knows the importance of education, and she credits her own growth and prosperity to the education she received. She wants to teach children that where they came from doesn't necessarily determine where they are going to end up. In the future, Gutierrez would like to incorporate mindfulness coaching into her teaching methods in order to help her students overcome limiting belief systems.
Gutierrez's students continue to push her to expose her work to larger audiences. This isn't the first time Gutierrez has had a show at Kerbey Lane Cafe. Her very first art show ever was at our Round Rock location last year, and it was a huge success–Gutierrez managed to sell over half of her paintings.
When Gutierrez isn't busy teaching and painting, she enjoys traveling and has visited 14 countries up to this point, including Brazil, Cuba, India, Indonesia, and Peru. When in Austin, you can frequently find Gutierrez walking around Lady Bird Lake and attending theater performances.
Giving back is a major priority for Gutierrez. A portion of every painting that she sells goes to charity, specifically the Shanti Bhavan Children's Project, a nonprofit organization that empowers children from India's lowest socioeconomic class to break the cycle of generational poverty through education, leadership, and compassion.
You can see more of Gutierrez's artwork on her website: heidipaugutierrez.com or on her Instagram profile. All of her works displayed at Kerbey Lane Cafe are for sale. Questions for Heidi? Send her an email.