When I shared the false, hurtful, unsubstantiated claims by artists on Facebook and other chat rooms against Luis Enrique and Santiago Gutierrez. NICA Ceramic Art customers responded.
Here are a few reactions in the first hours after sending the email. Reacting are people who know, trust and support these two world class artists and the effort put forth by NICA Ceramic Art.
These are facts and reactions.
San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua, has potters that have produced many fine pots, some of which are museum quality. I have in my collection many original, unique, one-of-a-kind creative and wonderful works of Santiago Gutierrez and Luis Enrique Guiterrez. Their pots are among the best of my collection. I have seen Santiago painting his raw pieces at Paul Devoti's home in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have found both men to be of the highest moral character. All three men work tirelessly to promote the wonderful one-of-a-kind unique art of San Juan de Oriente. Paul travels thousands of miles in the United States with Santiago and Luis Enrique carrying the work to exhibits and museums in the U.S. Santiago and Paul have come to my home several times. I have a friend and neighbor, David, who is a potter. He has commented many times when viewing and examining Santiago's and Luis Enrique's pottery that they are handmade perfection. David says they are indeed extremely fine and beautiful unique handmade works of art that would be impossible to produce in a factory.
Anyone who works with pottery or has seen and examined these beautiful works of art know that these works are as unique as the potters themselves. Ignorance, jealousy, and conspiracy theories must not hold sway on rational men. Men of integrity and rare talent must prevail!
I would like to weigh in on this issue Luis Gutierrez and whether or not he has a "factory" in Nicaragua. I've been to his home and workshop in Nicaragua and can tell anyone interested that he works on his own, by himself, and in his small space to create some uniquely creative pieces of pottery. He is a son of Helio Gutierrez, a well-known artist who has pieces featured in the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. I've worked at the Smithsonian for 22+ years and have seen the pieces there. And Luis has learned from his father and taken his creative talent to heights unknown in his village. I'm not sure what problems are presented with boxes marked "Nicaragua", given that Luis produces there and has to get his pottery to the various shows he attends. I've seen him in Bethesda, MD at the street crafts fair there, in his booth with Mr. Paul Devoti, several years in a row. Luis is taking no one's "spot" in any show. He's been juried in for the fine work that he does. And these unfounded, uninformed statements on FaceBook--in all their ungrammatical glory, at that--seem little more than jealousy-stoked sour grapes fueled by a heavy dose of xenophobia. For any artists feeling left out because of fine art from outside the US, I say "up your game and keep applying to shows, but stop maligning other artists with false claims".
Takoma Park, MD
I have known Paul Devoti for 9 years, and through him Luis Gutierrez. Luis is a talented artist and I have several pieces of his work. I have the highest regard for Luis and his authentic skill and artistry. I respect Paul for the work he does to bring the art of Luis to North America. I am horrified to hear about the accusations against him and Luis, accusations that are blatantly untrue. I can only think these negative comments are driven by misinformation or even jealously. We are privileged to view and even purchase work from Luis.
Dr. Nancy A Potter
Wake Forest, NC
The attacks on Luis and Santiago are ridiculous. I have been purchasing their beautiful work for many years and have visited and seen their work spaces in Nicaragua. They are unique and innovative artists who are building on the traditional methods of Nicaraguan ceramic art. Both they and Paul should be applauded for bringing this amazing art to the United States and giving us the opportunity to enjoy it. Luis and Santiago consistently win top honors in the many Art Festivals which they enter and have been doing so for many years. I sincerely hope that they can continue to participate in many venues in the US so that their work and the story of San Juan De Oriente will reach an ever widening audience.