April 13, 2017
Santiago Gutierrez was born May 14, 1984 in the indigenous pottery village of San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua. At four years old Santiago would clean clay and hand it to his Grandmother while she would coil large clay ollas in the Nicoyan tradition of the village.
At 15 years old Santiago began to work in village pottery shops while still attending school. He would work until 2 am demonstrating the dedication and work ethic that would later serve him in becoming one of the finest cultural potters in the world today. Not satisfied with the rustic cultural variety of pottery being produced in his village Santiago began to experiment with his own ideas and techniques. While managing a well-known pottery studio in San Juan de Oriente, Santiago infused his own ideas and designs into pottery that would be signed by the shop owner while produced by the skilled hands of Santiago Gutierrez. That studio owner would go on the win international awards as he retired from making pottery and allowed Santiago to “do the work”.
Santiago left that shop to pursue his own pottery studio without any clients of his own. Soon after that leap of faith Santiago Gutierrez and NICA Ceramic Art founder, former Peace Corps Volunteer Paul Devoti, met and had a discussion about Santiago’s future. For over almost 12 years Paul Devoti had promoted the ceramic art of San Juan De Oriente, Nicaragua and broadcast the reality of a rich Nicoyan Indian heritage that was behind the current artisans working in the pueblo. Paul was sponsoring fine potters from the pueblo to his home in North Carolina where visiting potters would work at Dan Finch pottery studio sharing their cultural pottery techniques while participating in quality art shows and events to sell and share the pottery with art enthusiasts around the country.
At the Grand Central Holiday Fair in New York in 2010 Paul Devoti and NICA Ceramic Art debuted the first ceramic sculptures signed and sculpted by Santiago Gutierrez. These first examples were rare vessels not totally refined but with an attention to detail and expression of unique techniques not seen in other work.
Soon after that Santiago received the invitation to represent Nicaragua in a cultural excursion to Taiwan where Heads of State would travel to that country, Santiago being selected as a representative of a cultural artisan representing both the countries past and the countries future. Upon his return Santiago prepared for his first trip to the United States on the NICA Ceramic Art cultural exchange program. Santiago shared his special pottery techniques at Dan Finch Pottery in Bailey, NC and participated in the top rated Saint Louis Art Fair in 2011. The work being produced by Santiago at that time was reflective of the opportunity that had been set in front of him.
The scale, concepts, complexity and craftsmanship were off the charts. Santiago Gutierrez was representing his work, his country and his cultural heritage to many that had no understanding or association with Nicaragua.
Over the following years Santiago participated in some of the top art fairs and events in the country including: Saint Louis Art Fair, Representation in SOFA New York & Santa Fe, La Quinta Art Fair, St. James Court in Louisville, KY & Columbus, OH Art Festival. In these fine art fairs and in dozens more Santiago demonstrated his pottery techniques to the masses attending these events. Winning many awards and accolades and selling hundreds of pottery sculptures Santiago and NICA Ceramic Art succeeded in bring him in front of the art loving world. Over the past two years Santiago’s work has grown to an extreme level where those of an educated understanding and eye have expressed the absolute mastery of this now 30 year old Nicaraguan “Nicoyan” master artisan. With extended studio and exhibition space in Scottsdale, Arizona and opportunities with galleries and cultural institutions the cultural pottery of Santiago Gutierrez is not just a reflection of the extreme talent of this ceramic artisan…his work is a window to 2000 years of cultural heritage condensed into the skilled hands of a young man sharing with the world what dedication, concentration and commitment can achieve in the timeless tradition of creating pottery art.
June 27, 2015
I have a vessel by Santiago Gutierrez and I absolutely love it. It has a fish and motif (geometric design) and is about 9 3/4" high.
I have followed him on the NICA site, but I find the information about him quite limited. His art is wonderful and I am totally in love with it. His natural, sense of design and aesthetic talents are exquisite. I want to know so much more about him as an artist and person. Where and how can I learn more about Santiago Gutierrez?
I am also interested in hearing what awards he has received over the years.
I am looking forward to hearing from you and best wishers for the gallery opening,
ps; I bought the piece at the Columbus (Ohio) Arts Festival in 2010.
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