Mixed-race artist speaks her truths with Rasquache-inspired paintings

Dear TRENDS Diary - 

If you had told my teenage self I would still be living in my hometown of Longmont at age 31, I never would have believed it. But reflecting on the love-hate relationship of the place we call home, and realizing what elements really make somewhere home, has shaped me and my artwork. I also love that Longmont, who’s population is about 25% Chicanx/Latinx, communally celebrates my culture and history.

As a 2021 Boulder Creative Collective artist resident, I am working on a series of paintings and three-dimensional work that is influenced by the Rasquache art movement. Rasquache, which was originally a derogatory term describing the taste of the Mexican lower class, became a way for artists to take pride in where they came from and embrace color, clutter, and using kitsch or “cheap” items for fine art material.

My hope with this work is to have visitors question what belongs in a fine art gallery and make the statement that just like my people, who are often told they don’t belong, that they do belong and deserve a space for celebration of our culture. So far, the residency has been amazing! The work will be shown in Boulder Creative Collective’s gallery, at 2208 Pearl St.

One thing I like to explore in my work is the “mixed-race” experience. I am half Chicanx/Native American and half French/Irish. There is a push and pull of feeling not white enough in certain situations, and not Mexican enough in others. It makes me feel inauthentic sometimes. I constantly need to remind myself that the blood in my body connects me to my cultural heritage, and assimilation into American culture is what I need to fight, not myself. I believe the experiences of mixed-race individuals add to the complete narrative of Chicanx/Latinx experience, so I just need to keep doing what I do, and speaking my truths.

- Grace Gutierrez as told to Will Betke-Brunswick