Scott Boniface is Aimless. Or, at least his show is. This week the Toronto native debuts his first solo art show at Moniker Gallery. By day, Scott is also the co-founder of Playground Inc, a digital creative agency in Toronto.
The juxtaposition between his upcoming show and the projects he deals with at work each day are impossible to ignore. “Aimless” deals with the complete unknown—losing track of the point and getting lost in colour, texture and the abstract. By contrast, Scott’s role as Project Manager and the success of Playground hinges on direct messages and deadlines.
“I maintain timelines, budgets, and liaison between people doing the work and the client, making sure that everyone’s needs are met,” says Scott, reciting his job description. “Projects can go on for months, or even years. But there are milestones in every week and every month, so my job is really about managing those.”
Outside of work, Scott’s adherence to deadlines and time management is oddly similar. Although his artistic deadlines are a bit different—sometimes working into the wee hours of the night using 3 or 4 a.m. as a deadline—the the same thought process still stands: staying on a regimented schedule can guarantee results.
Nonetheless, it’s after his 9-5 that Scott can let loose. “[At Playground] there is such planning, and when I go home there’s a bit more of a freestyle aesthetic I can play with.”
Scott has his work scattered across his home studio—he prefers everything to be on display so he can spend time just looking at it and seeing how it feels.
“Because it’s an abstract style, it’s hard to pinpoint what is a finished painting or when it’s done,” Scott explains. While he’ll go into the project with a specific idea, often inspired by a specific colour palette he’s seen, but the final result is often a departure from the original idea. It’s not uncommon for Scott to wait for the first layer of his work to dry before he tackles it a second time with a new idea.
He spends a lot of time watching paint dry. Literally.
“It’s a constant struggle to get it to a point where I’m pleased with it,” says Scott. “I’ve painted something I’m pleased with over 8 hours, but then I’ve also taken 8 months.”
Scott only started painting two years ago. He stumbled upon the talent while in pursuit of a creative outlet to express himself. His reasoning can be fairly relatable to most twenty-somethings.
“It sounds lame and cliché, but [as a twenty-something] you spend a lot of time thinking about who you are, where you want to be, and where you’re going to get your satisfaction in the world.”
Those ideas are at the essence of what Scott feels “Aimless” is all about—a reflection of how he felt when he painted the pieces that will be appearing: a self-proclaimed kid trying to find himself through a creative outlet.
“Aimless, to me, is the frame of mind I’m in as a person,” says Scott. “The way a lot of people are right now as a person, trying to find themselves. The subject matter is aimless. And it’s been aimless in the way things tie together. It’s about experimentation, and allowing yourself to try something without knowing what it will be become.”
Scott is somewhat of an expert when it comes to experimentation and pursuing the unknown. He and two buddies started Playground straight out of school: “We had this naïve thought we should try starting a business on our own.” Four years later Playground boasts successful clients such as Canada Goose, Corus Entertainment and Randomhouse Publishing.
His artwork has also been primarily about experimentation and trying new things. What other artist do you know that uses a three-ring binder as their art tool of choice?
Everything you might think to find in an art supply store, Scott had tried, with nothing really clicking. Then he came across a set of binders in a Dollar Store.
“I thought to myself, ‘That’s the perfect fucking thing!’,” Scott exclaims. He drags his arms across the wooden table, as if he has a binder in his hand at this moment. “Just the flex you can get from it gives you a cool, smooth drag of paint.”
Scott’s first solo exhibit is his next big pursuit of the unknown. It’s a passion project—the venue, the marketing, the curation and everything else you can think of has all been done on his own. Ultimately, Scott says, he hopes this will help get his name into the Toronto scene as an artist: a statement that he is a Torontonian born and raised, he’s making art, and people should take notice.
“You might come to the show and not like it, but you should come to the next one, because I’m not going to stop and I’m going to keep trying different things.”
This fearless and driven attitude is not something that necessarily comes naturally. Scott admits the uncertainty six months ago would have made him sick to his stomach. But now, he’s taking everything in stride. Just like when he starts a piece of art not knowing what it’s going to be, he’s ready for whatever comes during his show.
“With abstract art people sometimes have the thought, ‘I could do that’,” says Scott. “I WANT people to have that feeling. I think it’s so important for people, being young and trying things creatively. I think just putting yourself into something and trying it and seeing it through is so important, whether you fail miserably or do really well.”
If viewers are inspired by his work, Scott is fine with “Aimless” being the reason for visitors to find a bit of direction.
“I want people to be inspired to do something —something that maybe they haven’t pushed themselves to do. Maybe something they’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet,” says Scott.
“Just jump in. Just try it.”