Born in Berkeley, California to an American mother and Guatemalan father, Martín Gutierrez had a bicoastal upbringing in the Bay Area and central Vermont. With a foundation in theater and dance, Gutierrez pursued fine arts, graduating with a BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2012. Gutierrez’s spectrum of work in the visual arts exhibits an investment in gender play and performance. Versed in a variety of media, the avenue of music is his newest focus. Under the name Martin(e), the young artist has become a published musician and producer. Discovered by YSL, who selected his first unreleased single, Hands Up, for their Cruise Collection 2012 video editorial, Gutierrez’s music has been featured by several fashion houses including Dior and Acne. With the release of his first EP expected in 2013, the exotic performer continues to confuse us with his lady legs and sultry falsetto.
” How would you describe the word ” ART “, What does it means to you ? “
I try not to define ‘ART’. The more specific a description, the narrower the spectrum.
Personally, art serves as a release. I make art as a means of understanding myself and exploring my identity. I often play with the rigid constructs perpetuated by society, whether those constructs involve fabricated dichotomies like ‘male’ vs ‘female’, ‘gay’ vs ‘straight’, ‘minority’ vs ‘white’, ‘reality’ vs ‘fantasy’, ‘dominate’ vs ‘submissive’, etc.
I have always had to navigate between those dichotomies as a gender queer, biracial individual. I learned at an early age that my own perception of self was drastically different than the way others perceived me. All throughout my childhood strangers assumed my gender and race based purely on their initial interpretation of my physicality. I slowly became attuned to the projection of perception, with the intention to mimic or to project myself as someone else—at first for protection from prejudiced hostilities, then for amusement, but most often to assimilate and feel “normal”. We live in a cis gender, heteronormative, white man’s world, and I don’t fit in any of those boxes.
In solitude, the process of performing has truly become therapeutic and self-reflective, which is why I strive to execute all aspects of a production myself. The reality that a performance can simultaneously serve as a record—through a song, video, or a photograph—makes the labor doubly worthwhile. I do not need to share these “records” with other people, but there is no doubt I need to make them.
Photographs and text courtesy of the artist and the RYAN LEE Gallery.