107 Bowers Gallery & Art Space: Artist Conversation with Ryan Bonilla
Ryan Bonilla is a multimedia artist who was born in the Philippines, raised in Downtown NYC, and now lives in Jersey City. We first met Ryan when we opened the Gallery last September; he came in, sat down and just started talking with us. We felt a kinship immediately because he is so down to earth and we love his art. We asked him if he would be interested in curating a show in our space, needless to say we were excited when he said yes.
What kind of art do you make - and what is your favorite medium?
I tend to create whatever I'm feeling at the moment. Everything I create is influenced by the lifestyle I'm living. Because of this, I tend to work in a lot of mediums and don't have a particular favorite. It all depends on what mood I'm in...Photography, Paint and brush, graphic design, and sculpture are all mediums I love.
What was your pivotal moment in your life that drove you to create “art”?
I kinda always knew I was gonna be an artist in one way or another. I have been messing around with art as long as I could remember - growing up in downtown NYC definitely influenced me to live as an artist.
Do you listen to music when you create? Any favorite bands/musicians?
I always listen to music when I create. I'm into all kinds of music ranging from classical music to punk and hip hop. On my playlist now are Bach, David Bowie, Astronoid, Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, Selebrities, Danzig, and Johnny Cash.
Many people know that you like to skateboard - do you think that influences your art work?
The culture and lifestyle of skateboarding definitely influences my work however I'm influenced by other cultures as well. I transitioned from a street skate kid to fashion designer then to fine art. All those cultures have definitely influenced me one way or another. I take bits and pieces from each mix it up and hopefully come out with something.
Do you have a favorite artist? Who and why?
David Bowie cause he did it all!
If you could buy any piece of artwork in the world - what would it be?
Springtime by Pierre Auguste Cot
What was your coolest “art” moment?
I guess I feel blessed that I can live my life freely through art and have no one to answer to. That's cool to me.
Tell us about your upcoming show “low brau” - what is it about?
Low brau is a celebration of a lifestyle. It's basically just a Good ol' art show put together by skateboarders, punk rockers, and artists with no pretentious art world bull shit. We celebrate DIY and street culture.
What made you want to put it on?
I wanted to throw an art show with friends and homies in the neighborhood at a neighborhood gallery. We wanted to support the Jersey City Art District; in our way and style.
Who are the artists involved and why did you choose them?
The coolest photo nerd and he takes awesome shots of kids on the streets. Dan is really obsessed with personal style and it reflects in his photos and artwork.
An OG punk rocker and photographer... Jesse takes sick photos of flowers which I'm obsessed with as well. I love his interpretation of that subject matter.
An old friend from the good old days of skate. He's a bi-product of 90s and 80s street culture; an avid collector and historian of this genre. He is also obsessed with photos and I always loved his style and how he expresses himself through his art.
An amazing Painter. She graduated top honors from Pratt then furthering her education at Yale MFA 2015. She has shown at museums world over. I'm obsessed with her fluid style of hand and honored she would get down and dirty and hang with the homies.
The sweetest and nicest kid I ever met - a new school hippie. I've always cherished his loving spirit and trippy artwork.
John De Souza:
Street lurker and skate culture junkie. He's a crazy dude that lives his life the way he wants to no matter what people think. I embrace that and he takes some good shots on the camera.
He is one of my old school skate buddies and artist. We share the same philosophies on life and how we should live it. He is immersed in creativity and makes really dope furniture by hand.
Rebecca is a force to reckon with! She has a work ethic and drive that is hard to match. She embodies the DIY spirit. She is a painter, restauranteur, and design specialist. She oozes personal style and grace, traveling the world to her own tune. I love that!
A product of 90s alternative culture. She's been there and done that as an avid music junkie and a sick sculptor. I love how she doesn't take life to seriously and could always put a smile on my face.
A sculptor from New York’s old school. He lived in NYC when it was real; gritty and harsh. His sculptures reflect this time period when NYC wasn't a polished version of what it is now.
Quiet and reserved, but you can feel his presence. Ray skates with precision and the heart of a teenager. He is an avid photographer; I cherish his fine eye on his subject matter.