OPB: Is Portland The Epicenter Of An American Bonsai Movement?

An Oregon Public Broadcasting highlight

Before the Artisan’s Cup, Oregon Public Broadcasting's Aaron Scott visited Mirai to witness our trees and dig into the back-story behind Mirai’s creation. Walking throughout the grounds, Ryan delved into his Karate-kid story—how he knew from age 12 that he wanted to study bonsai with Mr. Kimura: 

Listen to "Can Bonsai Be High Art? UPDATED STORY" on Spreaker.


After finishing his six-year apprenticeship years later, Ryan had a vision of creating a new bonsai culture in America; “So he created Bonsai Mirai, and started teaching and working, applying the high standards of Japanese bonsai to American trees… ‘We have a lot more youth and less tradition,” (Ryan) said. “We’ve got a pretty keen eye for innovation. And our environment is wild and untamed, and our material reflects that.’”  

The ‘America bonsai movement’ initiated by Ryan’s vision has truly taken off in the past five years. The level of artistry and professional collaboration at Mirai’s various exhibitions has placed bonsai on the map of the art world.  

But more importantly, a community of creatives has solidified around our trees—ceramicists, photographers, designers, architects, woodworkers, sculptors, writers—there is a unifying connector we all find through bonsai that keeps bringing us back.  

Whether you wire bonsai or photograph them, our trees are a conductor of creativity. Ryan’s initial vision has brought Mirai to a place none of us could have envisioned, a space where collaborative artistry unfolds organically, a refractory glimpse into the power of nature as a muse.  

“‘We’d eventually like to take it to MOMA in New York or the Guggenheim or the Whitney are one of these very major art facilities,” said Neil. “And I think we’ll probably get there.’”  

Read the full feature from OPB here.

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