In addition to being a world-renowned artist, educator and Fulbright Scholar, SUNY Oswego art professor Juan Perdiguero can add another honor: earning the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

“Highly regarded in his field, Professor Juan Perdiguero has an exceptional national and international reputation for his life-sized drawings done with ink-on-photo-emulsion-paper,” said his nominator, art professor Cynthia Clabough. “His portraits of people and animals have been described as ‘striking,’ ‘stunning’ and ‘arresting,’ to name a few of the superlatives used.”

Since Perdiguero joined the art faculty in 2002, Clabough said he “continually inspires students and faculty with the depth, complexity and quality of his work,” and exhibiting alongside him since the mid-1990s made Clabough “amazed and humbled by the growth his work has experienced in the past 24 years.”

“Professor Perdiguero is extraordinarily dedicated and passionate about his studio work,” Clabough noted. “As such, his exhibition record is extensive and supports his stature as an artist to watch on the national and international scene. His work is routinely on display in major cities in the United States and Spain as well as other European countries. … A look at his vita shows a dedicated artist who has been producing quality, noteworthy work for a very long time.”

A Fulbright Scholar who collaborated with Universidad Finis Terrae in Santiago, Chile, in the 2018-19 academic year, Perdiguero made a large impact through his creativity, teaching skills and generously sharing knowledge, said Enrique Zamudio, dean of that college’s School of the Arts.

International impact

“During his time … the academic activities that he designed and implemented were highly valued by faculty and students who recognized the extraordinary artistic and academic value of Professor Perdiguero’s knowledge in the field of drawing,” Zamudio wrote. “[H]e proved to be a talented and capable instructor with a wide knowledge, experience and methodological resources who encouraged critical research and analysis to the students he worked with.”

SUNY Oswego art faculty member Lisa Seppi praised Perdiguero’s role in the emergence of “animalia,” a genre imbuing animals with human attributes, as part of an important artistic movement. 

“His work, however, challenges the historic conventions of animals in art, rejecting stereotypical

portrayals of animals engaged in dynamic action or of humans and animals together wherein the animal’s attributes are transposed onto the human protagonist,” Seppi wrote. “Juan’s images visually compel viewers to probe aspects of their own existence and inner psyche through his surrogate animals.”

Perdiguero has presented some two dozen solo exhibitions, as well as more than 30 exhibitions with other artists. In 2017, he earned the SUNY Oswego President’s Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity.

Seppi also celebrated Perdiguero’s drive and continuous strives for self-improvement. 

“His tremendous work ethic and his humility are two traits that make Juan an exceptional artist, colleague and educator,” Seppi said. “He willingly shares his experiences and knowledge with his students to help them navigate the difficult journey of becoming an artist -- hard work, rejection, conviction, the importance of not only developing your own personal artistic vocabulary but also having something to say, and finally, he dispels myths about talent or artistic genius … you must work at it and you must also have character.”

Perdiguero’s impact across the art and educational fields was additionally underscored by support letters from colleagues who teach at Columbia University, the Art Institute of Chicago, Rhode Island School of Design and Michigan School of Art and Design.

Perdiguero earned a bachelor of fine arts in art conservation and painting and a master of fine arts in drawing from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in his native Spain, as well as a master of fine arts in painting from the University at Buffalo. True to his continuing aim for self-improvement, Perdiguero is on track for earning his Ph.D. in fine arts from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2021.