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Cuban-born Juan Alonso-Rodríguez is a self-taught artist with a career spanning over three decades in Seattle.
His 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, General Mills among others.
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, Chief Sealth High School and Renton Technical College. His awards include a 2010 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award, The Neddy Fellowship, PONCHO Artist of the Year, two Artist Trust GAPs, two 4Culture Individual Artist Grants, ArtSpace’s 2016 DeJunius Hughes Award for Activism and the 2017 Conductive Garboil Grant. Juan is a Seattle Arts Commissioner and serves on the city’s Public Art Advisory Committee.
His book, 8 Days in Havana, can be seen here.
[…] Juan Alonso-Rodriguez is a Cuban born artist living and working in Seattle, Washington. He is currently working in acrylic on unprimed canvas. He very much enjoys working with the color blue. These new works investigate flowing paint. Alonso-Rodriguez starts by working on a flat surface then relocates the work in progress to the wall to allow the paint to drip. Sometimes he needs to manipulate the canvas further to direct the flow of paint. For this reason the pieces are a modest 48″ x 48″. The unprimed canvas works well with the type of acrylic being used and while there are some drawbacks, Alonso-Rodriguez says there are quite a few advantages to leaving the canvas unprimed. The work is not intended for any particular exhibit at the moment though recently a collector purchased a few of the most recent pieces directly from the studio. After his former gallery representation closed permanently, Alonso-Rodriguez began delving further into public work which he had been creating in addition to his studio work already. For these works he feels the need to understand the underlying story of the people and places the work will be connected to. This process pulls him out of his studio mindset wherein he feels a “selfish” need to get something personally out of each piece. Public work will be appreciated and will affect a wider audience who will connect to the work in their own ways. Alonso-Rodriguez is on the roster of public artists for Washington State where he lives. When public spaces are built, 1% of the budget is allotted to art. From there artists are contacted from the roster and asked to submit proposals. The artist’s own journey to the US from Cuba in search of a better life informs much of his work. He also believes that his story helps him to be selected for some projects that require an artist who can relate to the intended audience. After losing his mother at an early age, Alonso-Rodriguez’s father sent him to the US at age nine. A desire to realize his father’s legacy and intention to give his son a better life by sending him to the US inform everything about his experience including his work. To hear more about some of Alonso-Rodriguez’s public works, his life as a Cuban immigrant, and more listen to the full interview here. […]