By Rebecca Pikus

Juan-Manuel Alonso definitely stands out in a crowd — in fact a head taller than most people …He’s tall, handsome, graceful, & a very avant-garde sought-after Model even today. His long mane of (now) white hair makes him the iconic figure of an artist that he is! Juan-Manuel is charming & brimming over with exotic Cuban liveliness & personality — and, everyone loves him! Juan himself is a work-of-art! — as are his lively, incredibly bright & colorful (almost Tribal) paintings.

Born in Cuba, Juan grew up and spent a large portion of his life in New York City. Following graduation from CCNY and The Fashion institute of Technology, he taught design at F.I.T., Miami Dade, College of Fine Arts, FIDM and Design and Architecture. Throughout his career Juan has been associated with major design houses such as Tiffany’s, Nino Cerruti, and Willi Smith to name a few.

His extensive travels throughout Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia have had a major influence on his artistic sensibilities. After driving across country from Miami, Juan settled in Palm Springs where he currently lives with Nynja, his exotic Xoloitzcuintli, while continuing his art at Bungalow 1 Studio, mentoring students from Palm Springs High School, and volunteering for Desert AIDS Project. Several years ago Juan-Manuel almost succumbed to a life-threatening illness — but he fought the good fight & won — out of this experience came his Award-winning painting shown at the Palm Springs Art Museum entitled “Am Still Here”.


“I pluck ideas like fields of wild flowers from North Africa to the thrift shops of the West Coast. I arrange objects how I see them in my imagination. What I see in objects is their beauty not their value. Arranging them is what makes them worthy of their beauty.”

Some of Juan-Manuel’s past Exhibits include : “Cafe” Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado; “Revisiting Cuba – Legacy of a Diaspora” Gallery of The College of the Desert; Metamorphosis Gallery – Arizona; Gallery 446, Palm Springs, Ca. His Private Collections can be seen in Barcelona, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Berkley, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Portland, & Colorado Springs.

Juan-Manuel Alonso’s paintings are currently on exhibition at Jorge Mendez Gallery – Contemporary Latin American Art, 756 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, Ca 92262;;; Tel: (760) 656-7454. Juan-Manuel lives in Palm Springs, Ca. & can be contacted at; Website:, Tel: (760) 318-4931