Scott Boniface is an artist, entrepreneur, a visual thinker. At the ripe age of 24, not only is he a project manager and founding partner of digital creative agency Playground Inc., but he’s also achieved a successful debut into Toronto’s art community with his first solo show “Aimless” last September.
When people ask you what you do, what do you say?
I try not to hold myself to a specific title—always wary of being boxed in or falling victim to others expectations. I get a great deal of satisfaction creating cool shit regardless of the medium. It sounds pretentious but in the past I’ve referred to myself as a creative artist. I’m most known for co-founding and building Playground Inc. with some incredible partners. We create experiences for brands and products in the digital space. I also recently had my debut solo painting exhibition. I love making things I think are cool whether online or off.
Why did you choose to pursue art?
I’ve always loved, appreciated and have been moved by art. In my teens I created a barrier in my head of “why bother & who cares?” Only until a couple of years ago I felt creatively aimless. I had all of these ideas and energy but didn’t know where to put it. I started experimenting with as many things as I could: coding, photography, wheatpasting, poetry. I was throwing myself into the creative outlets that interested me to see how I could express myself. Within this self-discovery mission I grabbed some paint and just went for it. I did a few pieces and literally haven’t stopped since.
Your first solo-show “Aimless”, that was up at Moniker Gallery in September, was a huge success. What was the process like?
The process was ambitious and self-serving. I gave myself lofty goals and timelines so having it go as well as it did was incredibly satisfying. Although, for something so satisfying I’m not sure why a month later I still feel so hungry. I meticulously planned and executed every detail of the marketing, PR rollout, media coverage and the actual artwork itself. For 3+ months ‘Aimless’ was my baby so to have it come into the world with 10 fingers and 10 toes was encouraging to say the least. After warm public reception and 70% of the work marked sold opening night I’m ecstatic to showcase my next body of work.
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any upcoming projects?
I have a new space called Meantime Studios in the Fashion District where I’ll be creating the work for my next exhibition. I’m using the studio as a place to work on several projects at the same time, bringing clients by to see finished work and inviting other artists by for collaborations.
That sounds really exciting, can you tell us more about it?
The space is located in Queen west graffiti alley close to Spadina. I’m hoping to connect with other creative people so if you’re in need of some space or have some ideas of how you could contribute I’d love to hear from you!
Now that you’re in it, what do you think of Toronto’s art scene?
This year I’ve been actively going to shows and meeting other artists in the community. There’s tons of talent and opportunity for people to get eyes on their work. The scene here in Toronto is only getting stronger—from the startups that support the arts to the events and artists that have residencies here. Toronto is a world-class player.
Ph. Sam Sadaghiani
Do you think there’s a lot of pressure put on emerging artists?
I think the typical “artist personality” is naturally prone to self-induced pressure. Even to the point of scaring themselves away from chasing opportunity. There are a lot of opportunities out there, but so many artists stop themselves from taking them because as a creative you’re naturally prone to second guess yourself. Some people are so afraid to fail they never try.
What do you want to be remembered for?
That’s a heavy question. Everyone on earth has ideas and goals but can often be found saying “I would love to be… and “I wish I could…” and stop there. I believe that everyone has the capability to create their own destiny and path, regardless of what that is. I would like to be remembered as someone who was able to visualize something they wanted from life and made it real.
Ph. Rob Butterwick
What advice would you give, then, to ambitious artists in Toronto?
Spend time online seeking out opportunities but don’t stop there. Go to galleries and meet the people in the community. Typically speaking, people like to help others but you need to make it easy for them to help you. Although talent is undeniable, someone who’s active in the community and willing to do the work is usually the one who wins— as opposed to those who sit back and wait to be recognized. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you identify your goal and take small steps everyday to actualize it no ones going to stop you from getting what you want. If you’re reading this you’re incredibly lucky to be living and existing and you only have one shot at it— Are you going to give it your all? Will you go for it?