With our increasing dependence on technology, the death of romance often feels inevitable. Young people are often made to shoulder the blame for the death of love — but for every young aromantic, there’s an incurable romantic consumed by longing. Marcelo Gutierrez is the 23-year-old New York artist who makes short films about love and yearning for the contemporary lover. His coming-of-age movies are known for featuring young and fascinating personalities with elaborate costumes and makeup in decadently cosmopolitan settings.
“Tender Roses for Tough Climates” is his most recent short-film. Released earlier this year through Hello Mr. Magazine, the roughly ten-minute featurette was shot over the course of two years on both coasts of the US. “It’s split into three parts, and it revolves around a set of individually fabricated characters whose focus is to elaborate on my vision of romance or the state of being a contemporary romantic,” Marcelo explains. “This feeling directs the way I approach just about every aspect of my life, and it’s allowed me to enter into opportunities that would have been statistically out my reach.” Inspired by historic pop culture characters and personal stories, the film tells the stories of “a Child, an aspiring Actress and a Goth” in a narrative that’s whimsical, oddly familiar and always dreamy. Marcelo’s characters embody the ambivalence young people are surrounded by today. On the one hand, we all have dreams, but on the other, the pressures we face force us to compromise.
The tenderness and romanticism of Marcelo’s work find their roots in his family’s life stories. Born in Bogota, Colombia, he fled the country as a child refugee with his family to later live between California and Florida. “Home is a funny word — for me it’s really wherever my family is living and wherever I am currently comfortably living,” he says. Even his name tells a romantic story. “My parents are both Colombian-born and moved together to Naples, Italy, to pursue their art studies. After living there for over seven years they adapted a lot of their customs and as a result named both their children after Italian cinema icons, mine deriving from Marcello Mastroianni.”
Marcelo’s life has folowed a similar fairy-tale like path. Last year he was cast in the #CASTMEMARC campaign, which led to him being featured in the global Marc Jacobs campaign. And if you don’t recognise his unique look, shaved head and angular facial features, you might have seen some of his work as a makeup artist for Milk. Recently he’s done the makeup for stars including Tinashe, and a series of magazine covers.
This year, he’s already busying himself with another film, “Hiraeth”, co-directed with LA-based artist Bailey Hikawa and shot by Pablo Tapia Pia. The short film takes place in a small room belonging to a character living in a small town. The character spends his free time writing letters from the Chateau Marmont, written by fictional authors and addressed to fictional recipients. “Therefore he creates memories that never were,” Marcelo explains. “Longing for something that never was — only desired.”
And there’s yet more up Marcelo Gutierrez’ sleeve. “I’m slowly starting to write my first book,” he reveals. “I don’t want to say too much but it will be a quarter-life memoir. But of course being the hopeless and realistic romantic that he is there other things in his mind too. “I’m mainly focusing on staying happy, healthy and transitioning into a full-time freelance life.”
Watch Marcelo Gutierrez’ films here.