An artist among us


Bonnie Stutzman

There is a creative side to George C. Peñaloza, an employee at Road Runner Grill, which SaddleBrooke residents may not be aware of.

Not only is he is an award winning ceramic artist, but he is also an instructor at Romero House Potters in Tucson.

George’s most recent accomplishment is having his ceramic sculpture ‘The Queen Kraken Teapot’ accepted into the prestigious 2018 Arizona Biennial Exhibition. This is the third time one of his pieces has been accepted into the Biennial. Only 84 works were accepted out of more than 1500 submissions this year.

“I like to think outside of the box. I start with a general idea and then spontaneously create the piece as the work progresses.” For example, “I was thinking about the Beatles’ song Octopus’s Garden and tea drinking in England.

Thus, it occurred to me to do a ceramic sculpture called ‘The Queen Kraken Teapot’ which features a functional teapot featuring Queen Elizabeth II of England and a kraken.”

“A kraken is a giant sea monster which is strong and powerful yet can also be docile. I used the kraken’s tentacles to symbolize the different aspects of Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her love of horses and corgis, to wearing the royal jewelry and crown and to her famous handbags.”

“The opera glasses represent her constantly being watched by others. I purposely used dynamic colors on most of the teapot except on Princess Diana. Diana’s lack of color represents the lack of acceptance by the Royal Family.”

“I am drawn to portraying the Queen within the current political climate in which she faces pressure to eliminate the monarchy while she works to make it relevant and strong in modern times.”

The Arizona Biennial 2018 exhibit opens on Thursday, July 5 and continues through Sunday, September 16 at the Tucson Museum of Art. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, July 5 from 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Contact Information: George C. Peñaloza 520-403-3403

Mr. Peñaloza’s work was accepted into the 2007, 2013 and 2018 Arizona Biennials. Additionally, he was a finalist in 2008 and 2010 for the Niche Awards for fine craft design (student category) and again in 2012 and 2014 (professional category).