About the Bonkaroo

Megan Bonke, a Chicago painter born in Hammond, Indiana in 1989, grew up in Munster, IN. She graduated with a BFA in the winter of 2012 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also studied at The International School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture in Umbria in 2012; Eugene O’Neil Puppetry Conference in 2011; and Ox Bow School of Art and Artist Residency in 2010. Since, Bonke has spent her time exploring many facets of the commercial art world, while maintaining her personal practice at her studio located in Clock Tower Industrial Park. She interned with Allen Vandever, an established Chicago artist, from October 2013 to February 2014; and interned and wrote for Chicago Gallery News magazine from October 2013 to August 2014. During this time she also worked with A Muse arts, a company of artist that creates interactive art making experiences. During the fall of 2014, Bonke managed Artology Gallery. From September 2014 to May 2015, she managed and taught for Corks and Brushes, which teaches creativity and painting on canvas in most often BYOB style. Most recently, Bonke managed Gallery H, a pop-up gallery as an extension of Thresholds, a NFP organization that helps to improve the quality of life through therapy, residencies, and job placement for the severely mentally ill throughout the Chicago land area.

Artist’s Statement

My current work on the figure focuses on painting colors, textures, shapes, and materials. I am a representational painter continually reexamining my ability to see. I believe in traditionally beautiful and harmonic color compositions. There are two practices: drawing from a model and photo based. I create work from the model that references the process of the Impressionists: immediate visual translation. I borrow images from candid photographs of families taken locally in the Midwest region. Therefor the images are of American middle class figures, usually parent and child, and often convey nostalgia. In this work my interests lie within the translation of a photograph to painting through the control of cropping, color, and material manipulation.

But here is my point: when the artist gets down to the act of creating, there should be an intimate, uninhibited experience. I believe in struggle, practice, and learning when approaching art; and the playfulness and sensuality of creating art.  When I produce a painting, I begin a maternal relationship with the materials.