shawn bonsky
tries to make art happen

statement about what this is all about

personal history and such


Shawn Bonsky was born in St. Helens Oregon, and moved to Detroit Michigan at a very young age. At the age of 11 the family moved again, but this time to rural South Carolina. This move deeply influences his paintings; he grew up loving cities, the power lines and tall buildings everywhere, and as a teen years he experienced the beauty of vine-filled swamps, open fields, and empty forests. As the teen years faded, he attended Florida State University with a National Merit scholarship, and tried to learn as much as possible about our world, about beauty and culture and about life in general.

After a few years of packed studies about far ranging subjects, Shawn headed out into the world to seek more adventure. He spent a few years roughing it in New York City, and then a short time in Hiroshima. He returned from Japan to live in Philadelphia, where he spent most of his time as a working artist, along with a foray into owning a board game store.

The call of the road was a strong pull, and in 2013 he gathered resources through a kickstarter in order to attempt a grand show, fifty portraits of people in front of landmarks from each of the fifty united states. The goal was to have a show combining his various styles of fantastical landscapes and personal portraits, accompanied by hundreds of postcards each with animals painted on them. There were setbacks on the road, and the funding ended up not being sufficient, so Shawn spent the next seven years working on the project that he had assumed would be finished in two. Finally, in 2020, the pieces were falling into place. He had spoken with several members of his favorite philadelphia gallery - space 1026 - he had the postcards mostly finished, and the portraits were all underway. Then of course, Covid happened. The show had to be scrapped, and Shawn and his wife decided it was best to follow through with their plans to move to Iceland rather than wait indefinitely for some future date when things might make the show possible again.

So now Shawn Bonsky lives as a stranger in a land that feels like it was always there in the back of his mind. On every bike ride, every hike, he sees places that he is certain he once painted. He feels at home here, in the cold and alone. Hopefully the art that is made here will act as a blanket to someone else, bringing the warmth that they need.