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BVHS grad Schonhoff surfing his way through the art world John Philip Wyllie | Fri, Oct 05 2012 01:03 PM

Just prior to graduating from Bonita Vista High a little more than four years ago, David Schonhoff was recognized with an A.P. Art Studio Award as one of the school’s most creative visual artists.  Schonhoff credits Bonita Vista art teacher Sandra McGinty with recognizing his talent and providing him the initial encouragement and confidence that he needed.

“She taught me how to draw very well and got me interested in the street art scene,” Schonhoff said.  “Before I met her, I didn’t know anything about how to use colors. I took what I learned from her to college and learned even more there.”

Now, four years later, Schonhoff has earned a fine arts degree from Channel Islands University, co-owns Rocier Artist Collective with longtime friend and fellow 2008 BV grad Justin Thomas and is working as a graphic designer for Altru Apparel in Los Angeles.

On Sept. 22, Schonhoff’s highly imaginative urban surrealist street art was the primary focus of the “Walls Don’t Stand a Chance” show in Mission Valley hosted by Shaper Studios. Shaper Studios is a company that makes custom surfboards and supports emerging artists. The show’s setting was particularly appropriate for Schonhoff and Thomas, who are both avid surfers and skateboarders.

“I thought we had a great turnout,” Schonhoff said afterward. “The show drew well over 200 people and we sold paintings, prints, shirts and beanies. We also had musician Ian Alexander performing and the (psychedelic pop) band Inspired and the Sleep. It was a great event and a great showcase to get my name out there.”  

This exhibit was definitely geared for the under 30 crowd, but Schonhoff’s whimsical art has a more universal appeal. It is often light-hearted and amusing, but at the same time challenges the viewer to think.

Balancing his full-time graphic design job with his desire to paint and exhibit  is the latest challenge for Schonhoff, but it is one he seems ready to tackle.

In the near future Schonhoff and Thomas are hoping to tap into the much larger art communities of San Francisco and New York. Should they be successful, it would be quite a remarkable feat for Schonhoff, who just five years ago enrolled in his first high school art class with virtually no previous formal training.

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