Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Passion fruit - an abstract study of the human form

Published:Monday | July 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Ms Kingdom
Purple pines
Bunji and Zoey
Passion Fruit

How far can the human form be pushed through artistic expression but still be recognisable? If you change the shapes, movement, and colours, what is left behind?

Artist Bonito 'Nito' Thompson, explores just that, through his 'Passion Fruit' series, an abstract study of the human form and the flow of energy through a tropical lens.

Fairly new to Jamaica's art scene, Nito is set to feature his second exhibition at Chilitos on Thursday, July 26, from 7-9 p.m. The show will feature the six pieces from his Passion Fruit series and will include an animated short, where the pieces will quite literally be brought to life for an added element of fluidity.

"I really love the human form and the focus of my work is experimenting to see how much I can pull away and still allow it to be recognisable," explains Nito.

Quick Q & A with the man behind the pieces.

Outlook (OL): Why Passion Fruit?

Bonito Thompson (BT): "Right now I'm scrapbooking with that colour palette - tropical vibrant colours that blend well and flow with each other to make my pieces as expressive as possible. And Passion Fruit is just a chill, tropical, par vibe."

OL: You're experimenting with the human form. What's the reason behind this muse of yours?

BT: "As far as I can remember, I used to draw on doors, walls - any surface I could get - and it was always faces. During my third year at Edna, is when I started painting faces and the human body in water colour. I feel like as human beings, we can express so much without saying a single world. I love mixing colours and textures and it comes out a lot in my work. I was really inspired by Agnes Cecile. Her water colour paintings really spoke to me. I experimented with water colours in Photoshop and it worked - it's a very expressive and fluid medium. Tej Francis, is also a huge inspiration in the way he blends colours and textures and the fluidity of his lines."

OL: Why did you decide to animate your pieces?

BT: "That's just really where the world is going. Animating my pieces almost literally brings them to life and it's more engaging. I try to find a way to merge my art with graphic design and so far I love the results.

OL: Is abstract art something you'll continue with?

BT: "I think so. I'm really inspired by anything that really challenges perspective. My aim is not necessarily to try to show anything new, but just to take the ordinary and show it in a different light. It's about finding different perspectives to view everyday objects. When you see something in a different way, it takes on a whole new meaning."

OL: How does your art fit in with your '9-5', especially as a creative?

BT: "Being an artist can be mentally draining, because you constantly have to pull on that creative energy. At first, my 9-5 as Bonito the graphic designer and Nito the artist, were separate entities, but now I can see them intersecting. There are days when it's extremely difficult to focus on my personal artistry. But once I have the idea and can see it in my mind's eye, I can't stop myself from doing it - I just have to make the time and set my boundaries."

OL: How has the reception been to your work so far?

BT: "It has been surprisingly good and humbling, just because art is so subjective and everyone won't like the same thing. I'm glad my work appeals to different tastes and sensibilities."

Passion Fruit is Nito's second exhibition following on the heels of his Pretty Black Girl series. Pretty Black Girl, featured portraits of six women who embraced their natural beauty and highlighted the importance and the freedom that comes with self acceptance.

Also an entrepreneur, Nito has launched a collection which will include his past and present works and will be available in a variety of mediums, including phone cases, caps and t-shirts. Persons can also request commissioned pieces which can be produced on a variety of materials.

For further information, persons can visit his website: or follow him on Instagram @nitothom.