Commercial graphic artist

Ariel Perez Dimalanta is a commercial artist who began his career on Guam in the 1970s and has since won several awards for his commercial graphic art designs for businesses and organizations on Guam.

Dimalanta hails from a family of artists—from his father, who was one of Guam’s first architects (and involved in the building of the Agana Cathedral in the early 1950s) to his siblings, five of whom make their living in the art industry as a photographer, mechanical artist, fashion illustrator, illustrator and a graphic designer.

Dimalanta was born in the village of Tamuning in 1952.  He is one of seven siblings.  His mother, Pilar Perez Dimalanta, and his father, Antonio Salvacion Dimalanta, moved from the Philippines to Guam in the early 1950s, when his father was contracted as an architect for local construction company Perez Brothers.

When Dimalanta was six years old, the family moved back to their native home of the Philippines where they lived until 1971, before returning to Guam again.  Because of the draft for the Vietnam War, Dimalanta, a United States citizen, also returned to US soil to register with the Selective Service System.

Dimalanta humorously asserts that he was “manufactured on Guam and assembled in the Philippines.”  He completed one year of post secondary education at La Salle College in Manila and took several courses at the University of Guam in the early 1970s.  He decided to put educational endeavors on hold and began working two full-time jobs—one as a housekeeper at the former Dai Ichi hotel (now the Fiesta Resort) in Tumon, and as a laborer in the warehouse of Pay-Less Supermarket.

Dimalanta eventually was hired as a production artist doing layouts and paste-ups in the advertising department of Guam’s local newspaper, the Pacific Daily News, where he worked from 1973 to 1974 in the days before computers were commonplace in art departments.  In those days, advertisements were produced manually with different components and were mounted and pasted on art boards using wax or rubber cement.  As his talents grew in the field of graphic design, Dimalanta left the island in the mid-1970s to augment his art skills by attending the Academy of Arts College in San Francisco, the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and The Film School in Half Moon Bay.

Over the years, Dimalanta has actively produced commercial artwork for the private sector, tourist-related businesses, local government and federal organizations.   In 1974, he was hired by the newly opened Guam Reef Hotel to handle its advertising and promotions.  Since then, he has been a mainstay in commercial advertising, obtaining work with different advertising firms or on his own.  From 1974 to 1979, he and his siblings began their own company, AdMasters, and produced work for different clients, including political campaigns, government projects and housing subdivision developments, such as Baza Gardens, Barrigada Heights and Latte Heights.

In 1979, Dimalanta opened his own advertising company called Ariel and Company that remains in operation.  In 1991, he served as art director for Glimpses of Guam, a local ad agency / publication company, and in 1993-1995 he worked as an art director and graphic designer at Guam Sunzen, a Japanese-owned publication company.

Dimalanta has also contributed to Guam history-related projects as a graphic designer, taking part in projects such as the 1984 video, Liberation—1944-1984; The Pictorial History of Guam (book) by Don Farrell; Man Libre, a video production by Annette Donner; and  Glimpses of Micronesia, a quarterly magazine with the late Dr. Pedro C. Sanchez.  Other endeavors include creating the “Guam Island Guide Map.”

Some of his more recent ventures include production of the 2000 US Census poster for Guam and participating in the Guam Visitor’s Bureau’s “We are Guam” campaign village wall murals for the villages of Barrigada (where he has lived since 1993) and Asan.  He also painted most of the “carabao art” seen around central Guam for the Guam Chamber of Commerce business members.

Dimalanta is recognized for his artistry and has won several awards, including “Excellence in Tourism Award” for his production of the Guam Island Guide Map; for broadcast advertising during the US Annual HealthCare Ad Competition; the Guam Marketing Association Awards; the Guam Annual Media Awards; and Guam Press Club Awards.  Dimalanta’s work is found not only on Guam, but regionally throughout Microsnesia, including the republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands.

Dimalanta is the father of four and has two grandchildren.

By Tanya M. Champaco Mendiola

For further reading

Leon-Guerrero, Jillette. Seeing Guam Through Our Eyes. Guamology Publishing, Agana Heights, Guam 2010. (Accessed 26 January 2015)