Faculty Spotlight: Diego Monterrubio

Diego standing in front of a few of his art pieces

Thursday, June 13, 2024

By Deanna Rea

Diego Monterrubio has been an Adjunct Professor of Studio Arts at Bakersfield College for ten years. His journey as a professional artist spans over thirty-five years, with a dedication to his deep-rooted passion for the arts. Originally from the San Joaquin Valley, Diego’s artistic career is unique and inspiring.

His journey began at Porterville College, where he earned a degree in studio arts with an emphasis in painting. He then continued his studies at Fresno State, where he not only obtained another degree in studio arts but also a minor in Chicano studies and Spanish. His academic pursuits culminated with an MFA in studio arts, with an emphasis in painting and a minor in sculpture.

As an established artist, Diego quickly began teaching as he continued to study art. “I taught painting, drawing, and art appreciation; the same classes I teach now, I was teaching as a graduate,” he says. He also teaches art courses with other educational institutions such as the Kern High School District, Fresno State, National University, and Fresno City College. As an educator, his favorite part about teaching is “Being able to give back, more than anything.”

 “My entire life revolves around art. Everything that I do is a result of art,” he recalls, “At the age of eight, I was exposed to art. My grandfather was a master painter. He taught me about the elements of art and about Picasso, Diego Rivera, and Michelangelo. It took about one week, and I fell in love with making art. By the age of twelve, I was able to paint portraits, still life, and realism; but finding out who you’re going to be as an artist was the part I had to discover on my own.”

This year, Diego was offered an artist residency in South America. Through this opportunity, he has conducted lectures to audiences in several different countries, including Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The conclusion of his residency featured a final lecture hosted at the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay, where he discussed his new series, ‘La Fusión De Tres Culturas’ to a crowd of over fifty artists and diplomats. The inspiring art pieces highlighted the beauty and vibrancy of his culture and heritage. “I want the people to see that not everyone is born with a silver spoon. I want [them] to see who I am because I come from normal things like working in the fields,” he says. “Now, I’ve become a professor of art and an international award-winning artist.”

“I’ve had to work for everything I have. I’ve always said, ‘I don’t care if I’m eating rice and beans every day as long as I get to paint.’ That has always been my philosophy, and now I’ve been very honored to be working for different schools,” he says. “Never give up. If you really love what you do, then you must follow your dream and pursue it.”

Diego standing with two female diplomats
Diego conducting a lecture with a digital projector
three of Diego's paintings on display
Diego working on an artpiece while in South America
Diego posing with 3 females after on of his lectures
one of Diego's painitngs on display in an art gallery