Artist: Andrea Gutierrez, Jenny Cho, Caitlin Morris
Media: Coffee grinds, Acrylic, Wood, Mixed-Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marylin Werby-Gallery
Instagram: Andrea’s instagram
About the Artist
Andrea Gutierrez is an undergraduate student currently working on her BFA degree in Drawing and Painting here at the CSULB School of Art. Her art in this exhibition was all finished last semester and was inspired by her work at a coffee shop in Cypress, now called Java Connection. She worked there for seven years and grew attached to the environment so her work explores this and other themes having to do with a coffee shop. Her art was in the exhibition alongside her friends Jenny Cho and Caitlin Morris’s work. The three became friends last semester and felt like their work with uncommon mediums fit well together.
Coffee grinds are consistent through all her work and every piece incorporates them somehow. Two of her pieces, “The Regulars” and “The Morning Rush” incorporate acrylic and coffee grinds mixed with pour medium on wooden panels. They are very similar in appearance, however, “The Regulars” is four larger panels with darker tones, while “The Morning Rush” is sixteen small panels with brighter tones. “The Owners” and “The Cup” stand apart with their use of burlap, mesh, and tracing paper. Coffee filters are used in “The Owners” as well as “The Door (Don’t Push/Pull)”. Most of her pieces are on larger canvases, and although they are mostly coffee-colored browns and blacks, they do incorporate colors such as green, red, and yellow.
Gutierrez was influenced by her work at Java Connection. All her pieces are related to the feelings that arise when being at a coffee shop. She looks at all aspects of the experience in her work. “The Owners” is based on the two women who own Java Connection, who have owned that shop for eleven years. What used to be an It’s a Grind is now an independently owned shop. The burlap in this work is very significant because the black painted pieces represent the eleven years the coffee shop has been owned, and the tan burlap pieces represent the seven years she worked there. All the coffee grinds she used were from the shop she worked at, and were just a mixture of all the discards at the end of the morning rush. The panels in “The Regulars” all turned out slightly different, even though she used the same method each time. She relates this back to the regular customers she saw everyday, who were the same people, but yet always different. Her major focus in all her work is on using mediums that are special and unconventional. She felt that although all her friends’ work in this shared gallery had very different themes than her own, they all used media that most people would not necessarily fit under their shared Drawing and Painting major.
Synthesis / My Experience
This exhibition immediately resonated with me because I used to work at Starbucks. Her work also explored the difference between independently and corporate run coffee shops. Coming from a corporate coffee background, I could say that her work showed me that even though independently run shops might have more personality on the whole, all the aspects shown in her art were still there in my experiences. Her medium was what initially attracted me because I still have a love for all things coffee and I had never seen anything like what she has created before. She created the atmosphere of what being in that space and time of “the coffee shop” is like. Her using the waste specifically from the store she was at shows her connection to that place and her willingness to create with unconventional material. She described the owners of Java Connection as “her work moms” and I think her connection to them is something that also shows in her work. I got the feeling that this was such a positive environment, it makes me want to stop by there someday.