We had the good fortune of connecting with Miriam Gutierrez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Miriam, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
In March of 2021 I decided to make the leap and quit my 9-5 desk job of 8 years and become an artist full time. I didn’t just decide to up and leave one day though. For years I sat with my thoughts in-between cubicle walls and imagined all the different scenarios on how I could make this a successful reality. How would I be able to sell my artwork to make enough money to match what I’m making currently? Who do I need to meet and connect with? Will I be able to work harder than I’m working now and stay committed? It’s difficult to make hard decisions when you know you’ll be in an uncomfortable situation. I was either going to let the fear stop me from living my truth or say “here goes nothing” and doing the damn thing anyway. I went all in. I’ve learned that it’s beneficial to make income from different sources. Occasionally I’ll vend at my local art markets, paint large scale murals, open up my schedule for commissions, display more personal art pieces in galleries and sell on my online shop. By having different sources of income I have money coming in all directions. I’m constantly meeting new people by immersing myself in the art community. Turns out working harder comes naturally when you’re doing something you love. The thought process is usually the hardest part of making any decision and sometimes you just gotta go for it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work reflects on the natural world that surrounds us and how I view and connect with it. Being out in nature helps me shut out the noise from day to day life. Whether I’m out in the mountains enjoying a hike, taking a walk around the neighborhood, or sitting quietly by a stream, I feel captivated as I am surrounded by natural beauty everywhere. My process starts by getting up close and personal to the objects I’m inspired by. By doing so, I’m able to understand what makes up the object I’m observing and educate myself on its existence. Through studying nature, I am pushed to understand myself more along with the human connection to the natural world. The intention with my artwork is to tell my story and share my experiences.
I got to where I am today professionally by acknowledging my fears and moving past them. Deciding when to start is always the hardest part. You can sit and ponder all of the challenges that can come up but you’ll never be fully prepared on how to overcome it. You just gotta go for it. It definitely isn’t easy and sometimes the thinking will keep you stuck. Change the mindset and think instead of what could go RIGHT? One thing I’ve learned is to always trust your intuition, what’s meant to be will always find a way.
I feel that it is my obligation as an artist to represent nature as realistically as possible no matter the art medium I choose to create with. I want the viewer to feel as if they are experiencing the work as they would in reality-to awaken memories and spark up familiar sensations, even if it’s just for a moment.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my favorite things to do is take myself out on dates. Especially since I can manage my own schedule and create the perfect work-life balance! Places to eat… for breakfast we would stop into Maddough for a fresh doughn and then Roots Coffee for some caffeine. Brunch we would go to Lazy Day Cafe in Millcreek. The lemon pancakes and house potatoes are my go to. For an afternoon Lunch/Patio Beer we would stop by Fisher Brewery and enjoy whatever food truck is posted up out front. For Dinner we would treat ourselves at Laziz and then dance it all out at The Pines, I’ll more than likely know the local dj mixing some tunes. We could hang a hammock and spend the day at Liberty Park on the days we want to chill. Maybe even find a moderate hike around the Cottonwoods or drive up to Capitol Hill and catch the sunset.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my old coworkers who encouraged me to pursue a different career that existed outside of the box, to my family and friends for never bringing negative energy around the idea of me doing art full time, and for all the artists in my life who inspire me everyday. It takes a village, and I’ve been blessed with the people and connections that I have in this lifetime.
Henni Sundlin Justin Lagman