Bakersfield College professor showcases art around the world

Jocelyn Sandusky, Reporter

Diego Gutierrez, an adjunct professor at Bakersfield College, is giving back to the community by teaching students about his greatest love, art.

It’s possible to say Gutierrez was destined to become an artist. His grandfather, Victor Monterrubio, was an experienced painter in Mexico and worked for Coca-Cola as an illustrator for over 40 years. When Gutierrez was eight, his grandfather suspected he had a creative gene and began mentoring him.

“My grandfather saw a drawing I had done and decided to bring me to his studio to help develop. […] It only took one week, and I had fallen in love with his mentoring of me and of art,” he said.

After studying under his grandfather, Gutierrez decided to continue his studies at Porterville College, where he earned an associate’s degree along with a certificate in photography.

Afterward, he spent nine years in the Bay Area creating, selling and exhibiting his art. He also learned from his fellow artists while hustling on the streets, but Gutierrez’s educational journey was not over yet.

“After 4 years as the resident artist, I returned to school and I acquired my BFA in Studio Art with a minor in Chicano Studies from California State University Fresno. After that, I received my MFA from the University of Texas with an emphasis in Painting & Sculpture,” he said.

Gutierrez became involved in academia himself because his sculptor professor at Fresno State said he would be an inspiring professor. He decided he would pay it forward after receiving a great deal of top-tier education.

Even though Gutierrez is a professor of art and studio art, he is an artist first and foremost. Even with a full day, he manages to create at least one new piece of art a day.

“Either a sketch, a drawing, work on a painting, or [..] a photo,” he said.

Becoming a teacher and a mentor has not inhibited Gutierrez from showcasing his work either. He is constantly looking and fighting for galleries to feature his work.

“Gallery representation is a constant hustle. Every gallery looks for something different. You got to find your spot and get in,” he said.

Most recently, his 18-foot-tall sculpture was exhibited with Los Tigres del Norte in California. In the past, Gutierrez exhibited in New York, Mexico City, and Vietnam. He is also scheduled to exhibit in Argentina in 2020.

A combination of such high profile exhibits and social media has created a new and exciting opportunity for Gutierrez. PBS will be running a story on his art life and education.

Though Gutierrez is unsure if he will become a full-time professor at BC, he is enjoying his time here.

“BC has become my second home. I have met amazing students and peers here on this campus and I would love to here for a while,” Gutierrez said.