As a child in his hometown of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Alfonso Muñoz had a lucky break at age 13 that placed him under the apprenticeship of Antonio Loro, an Italian artist that married a local and became a prominent cultural figure in his town. It was under the guidance of Loro that he learned calligraphy, model making, painting, and woodcut artistry, all areas where he excelled later at the University of Puerto Rico and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Fast forward 25 years, where now Muñoz counts Paris, Barcelona, and New York as his muses, all places he has hung his hat and worked as an artist. Throughout that time he worked in a number of fields including commercial art, where he worked as a visual specialist for UNESCO in the Basic Education Division, and as an exhibit designer and producer, most notably for launching the first retrospective of the mid-20th century ceramic works of the late Roger Capron, a Vallauris artist who was part of the Picasso circle of ceramicists during the 1940s and 1950s. When the Capron exhibit closed in 2002, Mr. Capron, considered a French national treasure, invited Muñoz to Vallauris, France, to apprentice in his studio. It was there, where Muñoz learned the craft of ceramic sculpture.
While ceramic art is still a major focus of his career, the constantly experimenting artist works just as easily in acrylic, wood constructions, steel sculpting, photography, and found object assemblage. In his current body of work Muñoz explores still life photography, creating elaborately detailed sets, miniature costumes, and furniture for store-bought dolls that he painstakingly alters with the prowess of a Hollywood maquillage expert. On these sets a small surreal world comes alive with a cast of unnerving characters, all who are part of a back story that builds on Muñoz’ cultural observations.
In 2005 Muñoz was included in the (S) Files Biennial at El Museo del Barrio in New York City, an internationally recognized showcase of contemporary Latin American artists in the U.S. The New York Times used Muñoz’ image of Little Boy in the Mercury Forest in their review of the show, which then traveled to the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.
A large scale installation for the DUMBO Arts Festival in 2007 next to the Brooklyn Bridge cobbled recycled plastic soda bottles, bandaged together with plastic wrap, into 4 foot long sculptures of “Chickens” lit from inside with flashing red lights, that harkened to the plight of the Puerto Rican immigrants in the 1950s. That installation, a standout from the show, was also selected to travel to The Delaware Museum of Fine Arts in 2008.
In 2008 he was the recipient of the New York Urban Artists Initiative Fellowship, and in 2009 he participated in a 5-country artist exchange program at the Amherst College Institute of Training and Development sponsored by the U.S. State Department of Cultural Affairs. Dep He currently resides in Santurce, Puerto Rico, where the art scene is drawing worldwide attention. Included in Santurce is Ley, 2016.