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Twist of fate sends Bonita's Schonhoff in a new direction John Philip Wyllie | Sat, Feb 26 2011 12:09 AM

Having worked his way up the ladder from Bonita Vista High School's freshman and junior varsity basketball teams, David Schonhoff had a very real expectation of contributing to the Barons varsity team heading into to the 2006-07 season. Then on the verge of realizing his goal, a freak accident resulted in a broken leg. His season was lost and his opportunity vanished.

Encased in an ankle-to-thigh cast for three months, Schonhoff had to transform his life from one that revolved around school, church, basketball and skateboarding into something else.

It turned out to be art.

Since elementary school, he had demonstrated a knack for drawing. At the tender age of six he had won an art competition sponsored by the city of Chula Vista and he had taken art lessons up until junior high school. He rediscovered his sketch book and set about drawing with the same determination he previously exhibited on the basketball court.

When he graduated in June 2008, Schonhoff was selected for BVHS’s advanced placement art studio award.

For the past three years, he has been honing his art skills at Channel Islands University. On Feb. 18 he made his San Diego debut by exhibiting nearly 100 paintings and a half-dozen T-shirt designs at The Park Gallery in University Heights. 

“I call my work urban surrealism,” Schonhoff said. “It is a mix of graffiti street art and surrealism. I’ve learned a lot from my college painting classes and I have tried to incorporate a lot of what I have learned about colors, values and shading while staying within my own urban style.”

Inspired by Banksy’s recent film, “Exit Through the Giftshop,” Schonhoff has also explored the current rage of public art with positive results.

“Banksy’s film inspired me and my friend (and Rocier Art Collective business partner) Justin (Thomas) to go out and do some wheat pasting pieces,” he said. “People really liked it. We got a lot of positive feedback from it.”

The concept of freeing one’s mind is central to Schonhoff’s work. That theme is present in many of his pieces.

“My art tends to be spontaneous,” the BVHS grad said. “I draw upon things that have happened to me in the last day or two, pick up on that and then start drawing from my head. It all flows together and takes on meaning. I think it is important that people expand their minds. On some of my art I have the German translation of the phrase ‘free your mind’ included somewhere in it. I like to do work that people can think about so that they wonder what is going on.” 

Schonhoff's work can be viewed at The Park Gallery, 4319 Park Boulevard in San Diego, or online at www.Rocier.com.

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