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Art professor retires with legacy of creativity

Art+professor+Alfred+Quiroz+tells+of+his+life+experiences%2C+which+culminate+with+his+tenure+at+the+UA+in+his+office+at+the+School+of+Art+on+March+8.+Professor+Quiroz+is+currently+transitioning+into+retirement+after+serving+in+a+variety+of+roles+throughout+his+art+career.
Ian Green

Art professor Alfred Quiroz tells of his life experiences, which culminate with his tenure at the UA in his office at the School of Art on March 8. Professor Quiroz is currently transitioning into retirement after serving in a variety of roles throughout his art career.

Next year, professor Alfred Quiroz from the UA School of Art will be retiring. His outlook and interesting teaching methods have inspired students and pushed them to think when making art.

Quiroz’s passion for art is in everything he does and teaches. For those who took classes with him, the experience is something they will never forget.

The professor’s love for art is something that has been a part of him since his childhood, and it became clear in his early life that he was born to be an artist.  When he was growing up in Tucson, he had art in his mind.

“I always did art on the side,” Quiroz said. “I was always the family artist.”

It was in high school when he realized that he should dedicate himself to art. According to Quiroz, it was one of his art teachers who discovered his talent in painting and encouraged him to break away from the math and science program he was in. 

After graduation, Quiroz joined the Navy, but he knew once he got out he would be doing art. While there, he would send numerous letters to the San Francisco Art Institute, where he would later graduate with a bachelor of fine arts.

“It was like my ritual: sit down, write a letter, ‘dear San Francisco Art Institute, to whom it may concern’ and say that my interest was to be a painter,” Quiroz said.

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Quiroz credits his letter writting for finally getting him accepted to the school. When he finally got to San Francisco and went in to apply in person, he was recognized as “the guy who has been writing.”

Quiroz learned something that would be crucial to his art and the way he created it.

 He remembered the words of one of his first mentors there, who told him to paint what he thinks about, even though he didn’t think it was nice.  

“Then that’s all it took,” Quiroz said. ” It opened up the floodgates and everything I had in my head came out.

He would later have exhibits all over the nation, obtain a master’s degree in education at the Rhode Island School of Design and return to his hometown, Tucson, to get a master’s in fine arts at the UA and later teach.

To Quiroz, self-expression was important, and it was something that he taught as fundamental to his students. 

Throughout his years of teaching art at the UA, he fostered the spirit of creativity within his students so that they could express themselves in an honest way. 

“I can be a controversial artist; I just have ideas and this is the way I think about things and so here’s my art,” he said. 

Something Quiroz has told his students is that their art should contain something that makes people think. 

“The one thing art has to do is stop people in their tracks and make them look,” he said. “If you can’t have them do that, then your work is not working.”

Yet Quiroz wants his students to paint what they see in their own ways. 

“I teach very open-mindedly,” Quiroz said. “I don’t have an agenda. I don’t want people to paint like me.”

Quiroz added it’s important to him that his students are stimulating their minds every time they create something.

“I don’t tell them what they should be painting; I tell them what they should be thinking about or what they should be reading or looking at,” he said.

One student who has been inspired by Quiroz is Sophia Mayorga, a senior studying art education. 

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She said she hopes to one day teach and be as inspiring to her own students. 

She is currently in one of his painting classes and first had him during a summer class. One of the things she liked the most about Quiroz was his honesty and how he pushed his students to learn more than they had to. 

“He always tries to make us think [about] what we don’t see, and it’s really cool to have a teacher be like that,” Mayorga said. “I think his best interest is in the students’ creativity, and that’s really nice.”

She also said she appreciates Quiroz’s quirkiness and that when Quiroz tells stories about his life everyone is actively engaged and listening.

“He’s an old soul and he’s a very good person, and to me he reminds me of a reincarnation of Salvador Dali,” she said. “He’s not crazy, but he’s out there.”

Mayorga said students who will not be able to have him as a professor after he retires will be missing out. 

“If there are any future art students at the UA, I honestly feel bad for them because they are not going to get to experience him as a teacher,” she said.

Quiroz left his mark on the UA and all the students who learned from him. 

“He’s going to be missed,” Mayorga said. “Just because he’s memorable and he’s a really great person. There’s not many people like him.”


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