Sage Gutierrez, DeKalb, credits her grandfather, Cesario Zartuche, and father, Thomas Gutierrez, with her love of working on cars.
“They brought me into the garage one day to work on my father’s 1969 Monte Carlo. As soon as my eyes saw such a unique car I knew I what I wanted to do,” she said. “Working on vehicles feels as if I am working in an art studio.” Sage would know all about art studios.
In addition to being in the Collision Repair Technology (CRT) program at Kishwaukee College, she takes art classes and has had her works included in Student Art Exhibitions on campus.
When Sage talks about repairing vehicles, she is energized by the creative aspects.
“I don’t see cars as merely a means for transportation; I see them as a personal canvas, where you are allowed to express anything you want in any way you want,” she explained. “I love the artistic freedom CRT provides. I appreciate the freedom of starting to work on a plain old boring car, and bringing an idea for the car to fruition, making it a piece of art.”
The DeKalb High School graduate asked body work professionals in the area if there was a good place to get the training she would need to pursue her goal of working in Collision Repair. Their response was Kishwaukee College.
She stated, “They all said Kish had a great program and great teachers. They were right! Greg Brink is an outstanding teacher! He has allowed me to become more comfortable and confident with power equipment and with fellow students! As one of the few women in the field, he ensures that I am treated equally and fairly in all cases.”
After enrolling in CRT, Sage sought out her other passion in the art classes and studios on campus. Her imaginative and creative side gives her a different kind of expression in working with clay in her ceramics classes.
“I get all my creativity from my lovely mother, Dollee Magarotto! I started working with clay when I was seven years old, under the supervision of my Mom, of course, in case I forgot to turn the heat off!” she said.
One of her ceramics/pottery creations, titled “Until You Try” that reflects a bit of Alice in Wonderland, was included in the Student Juried Art Show in December and won an award in the 2017 edition of The Kamelian, the College’s award-winning literary/arts magazine. “I created the piece through a hand-formed, coil-pot method. My idea for the mushrooms and grassland area was to show the audience how big and beautiful our world is, and how opportunities are endless. The caterpillar symbolizes one being frozen in memories or present recurring actions. The big picture is you’ll never know until you try, because only you know what makes you happy. You must un-freeze your own mind.”
Sage sees her two passions – Collision Repair and art – as parallel expressions.
“Collision Repair and art are very similar: they both require a ton of patience, an eagle’s eye for proper measuring, and detail,” she said.
Sage will graduate from Kishwaukee College with an Associates in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Collision Repair in May 2018. Her plans after graduation are to work for a local shop and eventually own her own business. In the interim, she will pursue creativity in all ways. “I will also be taking more art classes while I am at Kish because I enjoy it. It makes me extremely happy,” she said.