Ryan Neil, the Bonsai Master

22.11.2018

Rocky Mountain Juniper, Juniperus scopulorum (photography by Chris Hornbecker)

Ryan Neil could be what one calls a bonsai professional. Originally from Colorado, the American followed an apprenticeship under Masahiko Kimura, a revolutionary figure in contemporary Japanese bonsai work. After six years of hard labour he’s now past the initiation phase and has mastered his art, leading him to launch Bonsai Mirai. He now travels internationally, exhibiting the fruits of his patient, meticulous work.

In a short film created by Ryan J. Bush, Ryan Neil speaks of his path to realising his passion. We see him hard at work, painstakingly whittling down the trees that he has learnt to manipulate with time. For him, the most important thing is to respect the creative process of the bonsai which remain in a state between life and death. “Without this creative process,” says Neil, “there is nothing in front of you but a large dead tree.”

Rocky Mountain Juniper, Juniperus scopulorum (photography by Chris Hornbecker)

Pygmy Cypress, Cupressus pigmaea (photography by Bonsai Mirai)

Pygmy Cypress, Cupressus pigmaea (photography by Bonsai Mirai)

Engelmann Spruce, Picea engelmannii (photography by Bonsai Mirai)

Engelmann Spruce, Picea engelmannii (photography by Bonsai Mirai)