ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — At this very moment, a perfect blend of history, emotion and artistic achievement is helping Central New Mexico Community College celebrate its golden anniversary.
To mark the occasion, the college chose a painting by a 2012 graduate, an introspective young artist from Corrales, to use as a birthday logo. It is a creative work that depicts the history of the school and the elation that comes with earning a college degree.
Last year, the CNM Foundation Board announced it would commission an image to not only celebrate the anniversary, but convey the essence of the college’s positive impact over a half century. Fabian Pedroza, who earned an associate’s degree in fine art three years ago, won out over 50 other artists.
Pedroza more than met the board’s goal. His acrylic and water painting shows a graduate in signature blue cap and gown, proudly waving a diploma in the air. The background depicts New Mexico scenes with a strong hint of Albuquerque, and shouts boldly about the sunshine that comes with a degree.
“I wanted to show that a person can accomplish anything they wish,” the artist said.
The influence of woodcut artists is easy to see. “I wanted to give the painting both an historic and positive look,” Pedroza said. “That’s the reason the image resembles a traditional woodcut piece of art incorporated with bright colors.”
“The painting is not only artistically beautiful and rich in colors, but it is also inspiring and representative of someone who succeeded and reached their goals,” said board member Regina Chavez, the head of the selection committee.
The committee included a board member, a foundation staff member, a student, alumni, an art instructor to represent the faculty, a member of the school’s Marketing and Communications Office, and a professional artist. Poster-sized prints of the CNM painting are on sale for $10, with proceeds going toward scholarships.
“I didn’t really enter the competition for the money,” Pedroza said recently. “CNM has done a lot for me and this was just a way of saying ‘Thank you.'”
Before getting into CNM, the Del Norte High School graduate said he felt a little lost, struggling to find his way.
“When I made the choice to go to CNM, I had no idea what I was interested in,” Pedroza said. “Now, every year, thanks to CNM, I seem to accomplish things.”.
He definitely plans to continue his education. At the moment, he is just experimenting artistically. He has an artistic mentor, Ericksen Linn, who considers him “a newborn in the world of art … just dipping my toes into the water.”
Pedroza works as a tattoo artist, although he keeps that work and his painting separate. But he credits two co-workers as inspirational: Jason Ward, a painter he works with in a tattoo parlor, and Alex Lordoil, yet another tattoo artist who helps him with illustrations.
A tall, slim young man – he just turned 25 – with dark hair and a pleasant smile, Pedroza considers himself observant. He is one of four children – two sisters and a brother. Most of his family members were born left-brained, he said, while he definitely is a right-brained person. Nevertheless, his siblings are all great supporters.
But his mother remains his biggest fan. “She still has napkins I drew on in elementary school,” he said.