Ryan Neil has quickly become one of the most respected Bonsai artists of this time, flying around giving demonstrations and workshops. Navigating through his busy schedule and allowing only five years time, he and his wife Chelsea managed to build a great home, garden and Bonsai collection called Bonsai Mirai.
Oscar from Bonsai Empire visited the Neil family and was allowed to film and photograph the Bonsai garden. With Ryan introducing several of his most valued Bonsai trees on camera, the video is highly educational!
Short history about Bonsai Mirai
I thought visiting Bonsai Mirai had been sitting on my bucket list for quite a while, but realistically, it has only been five years since Ryan returned from Japan. After his 7-year apprenticeship under mr. Kimura he and his wife Chelsea settled in Portland, Oregon, starting a joint career in bonsai.
Walking around the garden, it is hard to believe it took only five years to build the wonderfully landscaped garden, three beautiful buildings as well as an impressive collection of Bonsai trees. The Neil family has been busy!
The Bonsai collection is diverse, though Ryan seems to take specific interest in large, wild and locally collected trees. Several of the trees in Ryan's collection were collected by Randy Knight, but Ryan also works together with many local artists (potters, stand makers, etc).
I visited the garden just days before the Artisans Cup took place; busy times for the entire family and all students. But in the video below, Ryan took a lot of time to share with us some of the histories of the most valued trees in his collection. Be sure to watch it!
An interesting quote from the Mirai website:
"Bonsai is a representation of many things: of the environment from which the tree comes, of the person who styles it, and most importantly, Bonsai is an expression of culture. At Mirai, the garden, school, and facilities are constantly evolving. But in all things, we endeavor to champion American craftsmanship. My wife Chelsea and I share a dream to live life artfully, to fill our days with creativity and hard work. We are energized by realizing our dream for Mirai, and we channel that energy back into our garden and school, as it becomes a place where American Bonsai can mature as an art form. We step into each day invigorated by the trees, inspired by our vision, and committed to excellence. Day by day, we build and innovate, infusing our rendition of the American spirit into the age-old art of Bonsai. "
A few photos of Ryan Neil's garden
Video of Ryan Neil's garden: Bonsai Mirai
We thank Chelsea and Ryan Neil for having us over in their Bonsai garden! Check Ryan Neil's artist profile.