Juan Alonso-Rodriguez (juanalonso.info) is a self-taught artist who emigrated from his native Cuba in 1966. Juan creates paintings and drawings using acrylics, graphite and ink. His public projects are developed with stainless steel, powder-coated steel and colored concrete.
Juan’s work has been exhibited throughout the US, Canada and Latin America and is included in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Microsoft, Swedish & Harborview Hospitals and General Mills. He has created public works for Century Link Field, Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, King County Housing Authority, Epiphany School, Sound Transit’s Light Rail system and Chief Sealth High School.
Juan’s awards include a 2010 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award, The Neddy Fellowship, PONCHO Artist of the Year, two Artist Trust GAPs, a 4Culture Individual Artist Grant and a residency at the Centrum Foundation. In 2015, he completed artist residencies for the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and Town Hall Seattle.
What drives your artistic practice? What gets you into the studio?
I don’t need much encouragement to get to my studio. If anything, I don’t feel I get enough studio time. It is the place where I feel most at peace and time goes by very quickly when I am immersed in creating something.
How did you choose your medium? What medium are you currently working in? Has this changed?
I primarily paint with acrylics and that has been the case for most of my career. I like both its versatility and the decisive nature of the medium. I have also used and enjoy inks and graphite and whenever I’m working on public projects, I have to think in other materials that are durable and appropriate for outdoor applications. In those cases I tend to be partial to stainless steel.
Who are your creative heroes? And why?
I love the energy that Dutch artist Karl Appel brings to his work. I admire the way Georgia O’Keeffe lived and broke through barriers maintaining her vision. I am proud of the legacy of Cuban artist, Wifredo Lamb, and Jacob Lawrence most directly encouraged me to continue creating.
If you could own a work of art by any living artist, what would it be (or whose)?
Too many that I know locally but out of the famous ones that are still living, I’d narrow it down to anything by Kara Walker or Robert Ryman.
Describe a single habit/behavior/action/work ethic that you strongly believe contributes to your success.
I have a very strong drive to do anything in my power to continue doing what I love most.
What is one question you want to be asked about your work?
All questions are good except, “How long did it take you do make that?” I don’t have a punch-clock in my studio.
- 2010 – Under Construction, Circa Gallery, (Minneapolis, MN)
- 2007 – Grey Matters, Francine Seders Gallery, (Seattle, WA)
- 2001 – Give/Take, Bellevue Art Museum, (Bellevue, WA)
- 2000 – Hyper-Terrestrial, Friesen Gallery, (Sun Valley, ID)
- 1990 – Dancing at the Drop of a Hat, Williams/Lamb Gallery, (Long Beach, CA)
- 2011 – Vortexibition Polyphonica, Henry Art Gallery, U of W, (Seattle, WA)
- 2007 – 8th Northwest Biennial, Tacoma Art Museum, (Tacoma, WA)
- 2000 – Bumberbiennale, Painting 2000, Bumbershoot, Seattle Center (Seattle, WA)
- 1998 – Neddy Artist Fellowship Exhibit, Seafirst Gallery (Seattle, WA)
- 1998 – Signs of Spring, Museum of Northwest Art, (La Conner, WA)
- Portland art Museum (Portland, WA)
- Tacoma Art Museum (Tacoma, WA)
- Museum of Northwest Art (La Conner, WA)
- Microsoft (Redmond, WA)
- General Mills (Minneapolis, MN)