Featured Guest Artists

Boonyarat Manakitivipart’s artistry has been recognized around the world.  In Japan, as the only non-Japanese entrant in the competition in the Kindai Bonsai Styling Contest, Boon won the Grand Prize.  His professional growth started after hosting Akio Kondo as a first-year professional in the US.  Through this experience, Boon decided to begin serious study as an apprentice.  In 1995, he traveled to Japan and studied bonsai for his first year as an apprentice with Yasuo Mitsuya.  Boon also worked and studied at the family Japanese bonsai nursery Kihachi-En, and was an apprentice to Kihachiro Kamiya, one of Japan’s leading bonsai professionals of the time.  Kihachi-En became Boon’s “bonsai home,” and he said of Master Kamiya, “He showed me bonsai standards through his amazing talent and deep personal integrity.”  Boon returned to Japan for study repeatedly until his master’s passing in 2004. Today, Boon continues his dedicated effort to advance the art of bonsai.  His passion for teaching led him to establish one of the first bonsai schools in the US at his nursery in Northern California.


Enrique Castaño de la Serna literally wrote the book on the botany of bonsai.  Born in Mexico City, Enrique is the son of Yolanda de la Serna, and Guillermo Castaño, a well-known sculptor and bonsai artist.  Enrique’s exposure to and passion for bonsai and the visual arts began at an early age.  His love for bonsai and nature led to his studies in biology, and he subsequently received a PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of Rochester, NY, in 1997.  He continued post-doctoral work at Harvard and the Marie Curie Research Institute in Oxted, England.  Enrique founded Bonsái Tropical de México to promote bonsai in the US and Latin America, and has presented lectures and demos around the world, including China, Cuba, Germany, Taiwan, Mexico, USA, England, Czech Republic and Lithuania.  His trees have been featured by The World Bonsai Friendship Federation and BCI over the years.  He has earned numerous awards including WBFF, Chase Rosade distinction award, John Naka award, Bonsai Olympics gold and silver awards, and FEMEXBO award.  He currently serves as professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Center Investigacion Cientifica, Merida, Mexico and is the Chief Executive Officer Vivero International Dedicado Arte.


Ryan Neil is a visionary American bonsai professional, artist, and entrepreneur, who is redefining the world’s understanding of bonsai as a technical hobby and fine art medium.  Ryan’s character was carved by the harsh climate of the US Rocky Mountains, and his bonsai expertise was established after a 6-year apprenticeship in Japan with world-renowned bonsai master, Masahiko Kimura.  In 2010, Ryan returned from his apprenticeship to Portland, OR, and founded Bonsai Mirai. Ryan’s philosophy brings together the interdependent relationships between nature, culture, and the individual.  He has built a community of ceramicists, woodworkers, artists, and scientists working together to advance and further develop the bonsai art form.  What started as Ryan’s ambition has become known as an “American Bonsai Movement,” with a mission to establish a new era in bonsai culture.  Ryan’s exhibits have ignited controversy, expanded the understanding of bonsai, and inspired many to take up the living art form.  Ryan pushes the limits of bonsai design, and through the collaborative nature of his work, he and his team challenge creative bonsai visionaries around the world to develop a community-oriented approach to bonsai.  Website: https://bonsaimirai.com

Click here to see a full listing of all the artists and lecturers at the 2019 Convention.

Registration is handled online and opens at 12:00 Midnight CDT on September 15th. 

Click Here to Go to the Registration Website