By SHEILA TEMPLETON
Artist George Peñaloza credits his success to the outstanding instruction he received at Pima Community College.
Peñaloza earned his associate degree in fine arts in 2010 under the instruction of long-time mentors Dennis Landry and Hirotsune Tashima.
“Landry taught me everything I know about illustration, he was a huge influence,” Peñaloza said.
“I learned so much from Tashima, too. His everlasting encouragement inspired me to push myself past limitations, broadening my understanding of creative processes.”
Peñaloza has achieved much success since attending PCC.
He works out of The Romero House Potters Inc., a studio that supports many local artists. His work can be seen and purchased through the Obsidian Gallery, located in downtown Tucson at 410 N. Toole Ave., Suite 120.
A showing of Peñaloza’s designs will be held next fall at the Obsidian Gallery.
Photos of his sculptures appeared in Pima’s literary magazine, SandScript, in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and he earned recognition in the form of the Mayor’s Prize in Ceramic Sculpture and the 2006 Arizona Designer Craftsmen Award.
Peñaloza was also a finalist in the NICHE Awards, the premier competition for professional artists and craftsmen in the United States and Canada. He first qualified in the national student category, and most recently in the professional category in 2012 and 2013.
“Without Tashima’s inspiration and guiding hand, I possibly would not have achieved many of my accomplishments,” Peñaloza said.
His aunt, Grace Morales, also played a large role by encouraging him when he was younger.
How does Peñaloza come up with his designs?
“To me, my art represents a part of my mind and heart that has come into life in physical form,” he said. “I have been inspired by my surroundings at times too, and I try to comment on what’s going on in the world.”
Peñaloza urges other artists to go beyond their normal limitations.
“Even though we are in the age of technology, I would like to encourage artists to expand their own imaginations in order to surpass their expectations,” he said.