Vito Bonanno lives and works in New Haven, CT. He has exhibited in solo exhibitions at Spectrum Miami during Art Basel in Miami, FL, Umbrella Arts Gallery, NYC and Akus Gallery, Willimantic, CT. His numerous group exhibitions include a sold out exhibition at Metro Curates, NYC in 2014, Uarts & CT Places, Hartford, CT, New England ADA, Boston, Ma, The Outsider Art Fair, NY and Intuit Outsider Art Fair, Chicago. For a full list of past and forthcoming exhibitions and events browse here.
In 2009, Bonanno won an Award of Excellence in a juried competition for young people with disabilities, produced by VSA Arts and sponsored by Volkswagen in 2009. He was named one of 15 emerging young artists with disabilities and was honored during the artist reception in Washington, DC. His winning pieces, “Ghost Town on Davenport Avenue” was exhibited at the S. Dillon Ripley Center of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and then was part of a traveling exhibition that went on a two year nationwide tour of university and independent galleries. Additionally, a second winning piece titled “Southhaven People”, was on exhibit at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. before also partaking in the nationwide traveling exhibition that ran through September 2011.
Due to a lack of accessible art education programs for college age adults with autism and other similar neuro-diversities, Bonanno began private art classes at Creative Arts Workspace in New Haven in 2006 and has continued his formal training via private instruction from a variety of formally trained artists.
In January 2012, Bonanno unveiled his first SOLO EXHIBITION, “Unfiltered V: Vito Bonanno Riding with the Train Girls”, at Akus Gallery at Eastern CT State University which included works on paper, canvas, video pieces, a student-artist interactive mural project and installations. Akus Gallery Director, Elizabeth Peterson stated, “The characters, objects and ideas that inhabit Vito Bonanno’s work act and interact in striking ways. Caught within the grids and map-like structures he imagines, they are often in a struggle between multiple worlds. He has found a way to tap in the intensity of focus and insight afforded him through autism to unleash a formidable creative power and vision”.
May 24, 2014 was the Opening Reception of Bonanno’s Solo Exhibition, Truck’n With Vito! , at Umbrella Arts Gallery, NYC. Here Bonanno presented his Truck’n with Vito! series of 50 intimate pieces on canvas. Of special note is that the reception was the kickoff party for a traveling art education and awareness campaign of the same name, Truck’n With Vito!, Bonanno and his team transformed a typical van into a pop up art gallery that traveled through CT earlier in the year. From May through July the roaming art gallery came to New York and made stops at various locations in the city, including Bushwick Open Studios, sharing Bonanno’s art and spreading the word for the need for increased accessible higher education in the arts for adults with autism.
Bonanno began his artist representation with veteran NYC Art Dealer and co-owner of New York City based Umbrella Arts Gallery, Margaret Bodell. Bodell helped define and expand the outsider movement during the 90’s in her East Village gallery by including artists with autism alongside contemporary artists, bringing to light the unique visual arts gift that only the autistic can tap into such as Michael Madore, Jessica Park and Ricky Hagedorn. Bodell encouraged Bonanno to collaborate with “mainstream” artist’s one-on-one-in order to help him round out his artistic voice and philosophy, as well as to encourage him to continue to explore additional artistic mediums. These collaborations have resulted in a discovery of the wide range of artistic styles that Bonanno is capable of and have furthered his independent and unedited artistic voice. Bodell believes Bonanno has a rare form of extreme talent. Bonanno is currently represented by Artblend Gallery in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and ADC in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Current and ongoing, Vito continues to work with various artist facilitators in his studio in New Haven, CT expanding his knowledge of materials and techniques and further developing his creative vision. His unique view of the world provides a seemingly endless well of inspiration that fills his head with images and concepts until they spill over onto the canvas bursting on the scene in vibrant colors and hard to ignore imagery that can harbor obvious, but often secret messages. Vito was chosen to participate in the prestigious global art competition Art Olympia in Tokyo, Japan 2015. Skatepark Krusty from Obsessions & Meditations was a First Round Winner.
Bonanno was diagnosed with PDD/Autism just before his 4th birthday. Because he was language delayed, his parents and teachers developed strategies that tapped into his high visual acuity, utilizing storyboard styles to relay academic and social information. He was also encouraged to draw in storyboard format to express his feelings. The storyboard grid remains prominent in his work and studio preparation today and is a poignant reminder of a boy who was trapped in his own mind. Through the tireless work of professionals and strong family support, he has been able to develop into a high functioning young man who has learned to transform his internal existence into a powerful artistic expression.
Follow Vito: Twitter: @vitobonannoart * Facebook: artistvitobonanno * Instagram: vitobonannoart