Tenaya began working in the video games industry at Crystal Dynamics (Eidos). He then attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.
After earning his BFA from CMU, Tenaya returned to the video games industry, and worked for clients such as Activision and Eidos for several years. He then left the games industry to dedicate five years of full-time study to classical drawing and painting. He attended the Watts Atelier for one year before apprenticing with Juliette Aristides for four years.
Tenaya Sims founded his own academy called Georgetown Atelier in 2008. After seven years as an independent organization, Georgetown Atelier merged with Gage Academy of Art in August, 2016.