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Marcelo Gutierrez is the Latinx representation he wants to see in beauty


TextDominic Cadogan

The make-up artist, filmmaker, and Dazed 100er has already worked with the likes of Troye Sivan, Blood Orange, and Halsey, but wants to see more faces like his behind-the-scenes

From digital artists to photographers, body sculptors and hair stylists to make-up and nail artists, in our Spotlight series, we profile the creatives tearing up the rulebook in their respective industries.

Marcelo Gutierrez is one of fashion’s most exciting upcoming names. You’ll recognise his brushstrokes at brands like Christopher John Rogers, Halsey’s new launch, About-Face, or in Blood Orange’s “Benzo” video. Not to mention, he’s painted the faces of Troye Sivan, Halima Aden, Patia of Patia’s Fantasy World, Jari Jones, and more. With limitless inspirations, Gutierrez’s work is a fun, eclectic mix of bold colours and sparkling rhinestones, bouncing effortlessly from soft glam, to avant-grade, or grungy looks. 

“Being an artist fuels your interest in the parts of life that others might bypass and you take more time to question and investigate the world around you. Artists are investigators obsessed with the pulse of the next feeling” – Marcelo Gutierrez 

For the Colombian-born, New York-based make-up artist, filmmaker, and Dazed 100er, exploring a variety of artistic outlets has been something he knew he wanted to do forever. “I was very young when I knew that I was committed to seeing out my artistic expression because it’s what filled me with energy and an obsession for living,” he tells us. “Being an artist fuels your interest in the parts of life that others might bypass and you take more time to question and investigate the world around you. Artists are investigators obsessed with the pulse of the next feeling.” 

While beauty has been his main medium for the past few years, Gutierrez is keen to explore filmmaking again. “I’m currently working on a new video piece that I’ve written and will direct,” he shares. “I’m at a place where I can be inspired to think more conceptually and cinematically again, so I’m excited to reintroduce myself and continue evolving into what I’m setting out to do.” 

Here, we speak to Gutierrez about his career so far and why promoting Latinx representation in fashion and beauty is still so important.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up? 

Marcelo Gutierrez: My name is Marcelo Gutierrez and I’m a Colombian-born make-up artist and filmmaker living in New York City. When I was six, my family and I became refugees and moved from Bogotá to Florida, then later to San Francisco after my parents divorced. I’ve been living in New York City since 2014, after dropping out of art school. Since then, I’ve been working as a make-up artist in the fashion industry and a writer in my personal time.

Do you remember the first time you were conscious of your appearance?

Marcelo Gutierrez: I remember being made conscious of my appearance as a little boy before I was 10 by my delightful classmates calling me a ‘faggot’. My family never made much of an issue with my love of haircare products and dresses, but when I started to go to school my appearance became something to fight over. 

Growing up, what informed your understanding of beauty and identity and the way you presented yourself visually?

Marcelo Gutierrez: I think because I never felt beautiful growing up and I noticed quite clearly what most people considered beautiful, like a white Abercrombie model, that I started to actively seek out other variations of beauty in order to validate my own. It was intriguing to me how most people found Jennfier Aniston beautiful but then all the most interesting and talented people found Rossy de Palma a muse. It was because of those kinds of discrepancies that I consciously made an effort to only really care about the kind of beauty that artists mused over. Conventional became mundane and ingenuity was golden. 

How did you actually get into it? Where did you hone your craft? 

Marcelo Gutierrez: It’s been a long but pretty organic process getting to where I am now. I grew up drawing and painting pretty much every single day, then I moved into acting in my local productions which led me to explore the visual and performative element of performance art in college. When I moved to NYC after dropping out of art school, I identified myself as a storyteller that primarily used the medium of filmmaking and writing to execute my ideas. Make-up artistry is something that came naturally to me as a result of painting and being performative on stage/at the club. I think relishing your time alone is the most important thing. Listening to your solitude, being spontaneous, and paying attention to the clues around you. Live out your life with curiosity and practice your craft. 

“I never felt beautiful growing up and I noticed quite clearly what most people considered beautiful, like a white Abercrombie model, so I started to actively seek out other variations of beauty in order to validate my own” – Marcelo Gutierrez

Is beauty something you try to capture in your work or something that you reject? What is your relationship to ‘beauty’?

Marcelo Gutierrez: Sticking to the topic of make-up, I definitely always commit to creating a final product that feels alluring and beautiful but I’m never looking to make someone just pretty. I’m not really ever satisfied with making someone just that. It doesn't challenge me or the talent in my chair. I like to push and hopefully elevate the beauty that the person in my chair came to me with. Take them to a place they haven't felt before and allow them to embrace a facet of their persona that’s not always out on display. My favourite kind of beauty is a little dangerous, sexy, raw, sensitive, alluring, and powerful. Traditional glamour doesn't interest me but I have an immense appreciation for it and the artists that pursue it. 

What advice would you give to young artists hoping to get into the industry? 

Marcelo Gutierrez: Now we’re in a kind of wild west era where anything goes. The concept of a linear career path is fading, sticking to what makes you happy and gives you life is what you should put your time into because life is and can be very short. I tell any young artist to be resourceful, tenacious, stubborn in their pursuit but always ready and willing to adapt to changes. Keep going and you’re your own worst enemy. 

You're vocal on social media about representation of Latinx artists in the creative industry – why is this important to you? How can it be improved?

Marcelo Gutierrez: The lack of Latino or Latinx representation in the creative industry is so evident and important to me. I see more often than not that there are very few if any of us on set. In an age where inclusion is at the forefront of the conversation, allowing Latinos to tell stories, be the star and also work behind the scenes will only broaden the understanding and perception of this extremely large and diverse community. Latinos are made up of so many different colours and experiences. Like with many minority groups, we are all clumped into a monolithic narrative. In Hollywood, we still constantly serve as a token or as a flare. Within our community, there is a huge racial and classist disease holding us back from growth and that also needs to be dealt with between one another. 

I’m rooting for all of us to expand on our own narratives. It really comes down to change behind the scenes; in the boardroom, at the agencies, production companies, and then behind the camera etc. Exposure doesn't equate to power, money moves make real change and we need much broader representation in positions of power. Not just Latinos, but we need more Black and Asian men and women leading us forward.

You've done a lot of amazing projects in the past year, what is something you'd still love to do? Any dream collaborators or projects?

Marcelo Gutierrez: Oh man, there’s so much left to do. We are just getting started! I’d absolutely love to get some of my film work produced. I’d love to visit London and shoot with some of my favourite photographers and stylists. I want to work more intimately with musicians and muses on singular, strong image-making. Quality over quantity. 

Who would you like to shine a spotlight on next?

Marcelo Gutierrez: G.L.I.T.S. Inc – Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society. Patia’s Fantasy World Guide to dismantling systemic racism and reeducating yourself and others around you. The Celebration Nation, Latinx Foundation focused on helping the Latino Community especially farm workers and their direct families. Dig Deep, a human rights non-profit working to ensure that every American has clean, running water forever.

What is the future of beauty? 

Marcelo Gutierrez: The future of beauty has no margins, only provocations. 

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