Alan Sonneman was born and raised in Winona, Minnesota. He briefly attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois before graduating from The San Francisco Art Institute in 1975. He spent several years working for galleries and museums on the East Coast before moving back to California in 1982 to divide his time between the fine arts and the film industry.
His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States including the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Katzen Center at American University in Washington, D.C., the Southwest Center for Contemportary Art, Winston-Salem, N.C., the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA. and the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA. in conjunction with his mural for the Riverside Hall of Justice. His mural commisions include the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.. His work has also been featured in the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, the Los Angeles Times and the Guardian UK. He has received grants and fellowships from the Neddie Marie Jones Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sequioa Parks Foundation.
In film he has contributed to such movies as Cliffhangers, Dante’s Peak, Fitfh Element, Titanic, Matrix Revolution, AI, and What Dreams May Come. From 1997 to 2001 he was an artist for Steven Spielberg’s company Dreamworks. He resides in Palo Alto, California and spends his summers in the high-country of the Southern Sierra.