Hilario Gutierrez faced the monolithic stone temples of Monument Valley, Arizona on New Years Day, 1994, and acknowledged, for the first time, his true nature. He returned home two days later and began to paint. As an Arizona native with a rich ethnic heritage, Hilario always identified with the spirit of the American Southwest. This unique identity became evident even as he produced his first paintings. Within a year of beginning to paint, Hilario was selling his work.
Hilario Gutierrez is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, and a second generation American. He boasts a rich ethnic heritage consisting of Mexican/Aztec and German from his mother’s family, and Yaqui Indian and Austrian from his father’s family. He graduated from Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968, where he studied and experimented with photography. Some of his earliest art memories involve his self-acknowledged failure to please his instructors, who never allowed the young student to explore the creative inner self that would release his unique artistry.
After graduating from high school Hilario joined the U.S. Navy, and became a veteran of the Vietnam War. Upon leaving the Navy in 1972, Hilario took various art and photography classes at Phoenix College, where he studied under renowned photographer Allen Dutton and gained the tools to become a professional photographer.
In the mid-Seventies Hilario studied at the United Academy of Beauty, where he obtained a cosmetology license. For the next twenty years he continued to attend various classes in the art and science of hair color, which deepened his understanding of color basics. But it wasn’t until 1994 that he experienced his artistic revelation in Monument Valley and began the serious pursuit of painting.
Hilario studied the work of master artists—Gerhard Richter, Dan Namingha, Anthony Michael Nisperos, and Andy Goldsworthy—to perfect his technique. He draws upon his life experience to express his creative vision, and derives his inspiration from “…the basics, Mother Earth.”
Every artist experiences peaks and valleys during the creative process. When confronted with artist’s block, Hilario says, “I stop thinking that ?I’ am the artist, and let what is in me (that which is the artist) speak.” He explains that he is a conduit for creativity. “’I’ am the brush for that which comes through me to create the process. The image is secondary to the experience of creating the image. Whatever comes through me to create the image is also there to connect with the viewer. The physics and movement of the paint evokes a memory, feeling or vibration that captures the viewer’s mind and connects to their heart or soul.”
Hilario’s primary philosophy about art is “Atmosphere. Art must have an atmosphere that allows the viewer to exist within the painting.” Art is Hilario’s life journey; the conduit to connect beauty with soul.
When he’s not in his studio creating art, Hilario visits his primary inspiration, Nature, by driving the back roads and hiking the remote trails of Arizona. He expresses an interest in experimenting with metalworking and ceramics, both media to which he has not yet applied his unique vision.
In October 2000, two of Hilaro’s works were selected for the 4th Annual Juried Exhibition by Phoenix’s prestigious Artlink, Inc. His first two solo shows were sell-outs. His show in October 2001 was featured in the Arts section of the Sunday edition of The Arizona Republic.
Hilario’s works have appeared in numerous publications, including Luxe Interiors + Design, “Style Makers: Desert Persuasion”, Fall 2010/Arizona edition; The Tribune’s Get Out Weekly Magazine, Scottsdale Magazine, Phoenix New Times, Phoenix Downtown Magazine, The Arizona Republic (“Valley Hairstylist Enjoys Shortcut to Art Success”), and Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine. He has enjoyed many group and solo exhibitions throughout Arizona and in Chicago, Illinois; and has painted commissions for various public collections, including McDonalds Corporation.
Currently, Hilario explores the diversity of subjective and non-subjective images combined with distinctive surfaces and shapes to reveal the internal life of his emotions and his art. His explorations draw the viewer into his world and invite wonder, remembrance and awakening. Says the artist, “The style does not matter; the emotion of the painting does.”
Says the artist, “As an Arizona native, I possess an innate awareness of the quiet struggle and fragile balance of the Sonoran Desert. My abstract style expresses the harmony in the desert’s chaotic emotion of line, color and form. Emotion is the soul of my work; inspired by the natural and man-made architecture of the Arizona landscape.
“I believe the eye can touch an image and reveal sensation. I create conjoined colors; so, like a prism, there is no separation of one color to the next. Thus, my work evokes a different emotion depending on one’s nearness to the canvas.”
“Emotion is the soul of my work; inspired by the natural and man-made architecture of the Arizona landscape.”
As an Arizona native, I possess an innate awareness of the quiet struggle and fragile balance of the Sonoran Desert. My abstract style expresses the harmony in the desert’s chaotic emotion of line, color and form. Emotion is the soul of my work; inspired by the natural and man-made architecture of the Arizona landscape. I believe the eye can touch an image and reveal sensation. I create conjoined colors; so, like a prism, there is no separation of one color to the next. Thus, my work evokes a different emotion depending on one’s nearness to the canvas.