Pancho Jiménez

Since 1991, the SVLaureate program has awarded more than 150 of the finest artists the South Bay has to offer with honors, recognition, and a cash prize to assist them in pursuing their craft. This year, awards were given in several different categories: Off Stage (an artist working offstage, backstage, or pre-performance), On Stage (a performing artist), On the Wall (a visual artist working in traditional or mixed media), Off the Wall (a visual artist working in sculpture), and Emerging Artist (a young artist in any medium who shows promise for continued growth and excellence). This year the program added a new award, the SVNexus Award, honoring an artist who uses technology to fuel their creative work.

These artists are chosen based on the work they have created and their commitment to their communities. Through their work as teachers, artists, and performers, each of the SVLaureates has shown a devotion to their craft that includes mentorship, service, and forging new cultural understanding. 

Pancho Jiménez: Off the Wall Recipient

Growing up in Santa Clara, Pancho Jiménez always loved working with his hands and building things. This inclination eventually drew him to the field of sculpture. He attended college at Santa Clara University, then went to grad school at San Francisco State and returned to his roots in Santa Clara as a ceramics instructor in 1999. His work, which is deeply influenced by Mexican and Mesoamerican culture and carvings, has been exhibited in museums, galleries, and public spaces throughout California and across the US. While the bulk of his work consists of carved sculptural pieces, a stress injury in his elbow six years ago forced him to rethink his process, bringing him to incorporate commercial molds into his work. “As I began to gather these molds from a variety of sources, it became apparent that what I was looking at were things that trigger memories, experiences, and dreams—things that contribute to our biography,” he says. His new pieces “suggest a vocabulary that is both familiar and mysterious…a dreamlike state wherein images, such as ideas, experiences, and emotions, come in and out of focus.”

“Silicon Valley is a very wealthy and diverse community, and that diversity enriches my work. [It] exposes me to various cultures and visual traditions that I believe feed both my artwork and my aesthetic. My current work draws on the densely carved textures of the geometric designs and hieroglyphs found in ancient works of art. I think the greatest success up to this point in my professional life is that I’ve been able to continue making art while sharing my knowledge and artistic skills with others, particularly students. It is a unique and empowering experience to make an object that had previously existed only in your imagination, and helping students create their own work and have this same experience is a real joy.”

Pancho Jiménez

Written by Nathan Zanon
Photography & Videography by DSOTM

This article originally appeared in Issue 10.3 “Profiles”

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