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Artist Biography

The Artist Lives and works in NYC. He studied painting at Syracuse University, School of Visual Arts (NYC), LLOTJA (Barcelona) and Tibet House (NYC). From his painting background Bonafede incorporates formal compositional elements into his performance art practice. His work also includes a unique form of street printmaking called chemography. Having studied for years with a Tibetan master Tangkha painter, he helped start a non-profit organization helping nomadic poor children in East Tibet (, which continually influences his work. John co-founded, produced and performed in monthly variety shows in a Midtown Manhattan loft for ten years, bringing his performance art to the fore. He enjoys performing in alternative art spaces as well as established institutions such as MoMA, NYC (performing for three months in Marina Abramovic: Artist Is Present) and the 2017 Venice Biennale. Bonafede’s performance art ranges from the socio-political commentary to testing the physical limits of his body. The performances often challenge accepted formal notions of line, forms or painting and sculptural mediums. Video documentation is taken as an additional art medium for his performances to be viewed in. His career as a Production Designer and Art Director bear direct influence on his videos. His storyboards are those of a draftsman with years of experience writing/ illustrating graphic novels. Designing the sets and costumes is part of his process. Durational and installation-oriented performances often appear, reflecting his love for special design. The conceptual paintings usually revolve ideas of transience, Systems Theory and personal relationships. His landscapes are painted from observation in their natural environment with all its uncontrollable variables. A quest for a deeper connection to natural and man made systems are the through line in all his pieces.


Bloodline from John Bonafede on Vimeo.