ABOUT US

Name: Tim Arsenault

Homebase: The Farmhouse, Scituate Rhode Island

Title: Founder/TreeEO

How did you find your way into bonsai?

I’m a serial hobbyist, I get really into all sorts of weird hobbies that I find fascinating. Just to name ones that start with “B”, I’m into Birding, Boardgames, Baking and Bonsai.  My interest was first piqued by the bonsai collection at the Arnold Arboretum in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston where I used to go on picnics with my wife Annie. Later I stumbled upon the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society’s annual member show at the Denver Botanical Gardens, and I bought a few trees from a vendor and got really hooked. Later, I took an intro to bonsai course with Hal Sasaki in Denver and heard about this bonsai artist, Ryan Neil, who does weekly webcasts on bonsai  (Mirai Live) and I’ve been looking for a way to work in bonsai ever since. Originally, I was going to start a field-growing company with my brother Ben, but then I came up with the idea for Bonsai Bar after taking a nature walk.

What do you enjoy the most about the art of bonsai?

Watching your babies grow up! Short of literally watching my two beautiful children grow up, there’s nothing as amazing as watching a tree grow into a more refined tree year after year. I was hooked on bonsai from the start, but every year I fall more in love with the hobby as my little “sticks in pots” get more and more developed.

What do you hope to bring to the world of bonsai with Bonsai Bar?

I’m excited to bring new energy and people into the world of bonsai! Bonsai Bar is just the most basic introduction into the world of bonsai and every class I see a spark in dozens of people’s eyes as they get really excited about this art. If we get just 2-3 people a class to dive deeper into bonsai that will flood the bonsai community in America with hundreds or thousands of new practitioners and change American bonsai for a generation!

What is your background in?

I went to college for creative writing, then worked as a server for a while before joining Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, working in politics for a few years, then non-profit work followed by several years as a software developer before finally starting Bonsai Bar. After so many varied careers in my life I’ve never been happier than I am doing what I’m doing right now, I’m very excited to take over the world with tiny trees!

Name: Sean Lamoureux

Homebase: Albany, New York

Title: New York State Regional Director/ Media Developer

How did you find your way into bonsai? 

I found my way to bonsai during the pandemic. I was gifted a three month ‘bonsai subscription’ through an online retailer. In my effort to keep them alive, I learned more and more until one day I realized bonsai is a hobby and art form I want to pursue intensely, indefinitely.  

What do you enjoy most about the art of bonsai?

It is an art form that cannot lie dormant. It can’t be lost in a hard drive or stuffed under a bed or in a storage unit. It requires attention. It’s the time and attention required that I enjoy most. It reminds me to slow down, pay closer attention to my environment, and enjoy the quiet moments when they happen.

What do you hope to bring to the world of bonsai with Bonsai Bar?

More people to bonsai!

What is your background in? Either professionally or educationally?

My background is in fine arts and education. I was a teacher, summer program director, commercial photographer, gallery director, baker, commercial driver, and trades worker. I love teaching and bonsai. To marry the two is a dream come true.

Name: Joe Perry

Homebase: Gloucester, Massachusetts

Title: New England Regional Director/Study Group Facilitator

How did you find your way into bonsai?

When I moved to Maine in 2009, as with any new location, I assessed what was available to me locally for entertainment and edification. As a former adventure camp director, the outdoors was always my playground, but I’d never been so fully immersed in it before. Foraging for fiddleheads, stinging nettles, ramps, seaweed, and joining the Maine Mycological Association to hunt for edible mushrooms, were all terrific opportunities. I canoed and fly-fished the rivers (as well as jumping off the bridges to swim in them). It wasn’t until 2012 that my attention turned to the contorted trees that grew out of the rock faces along the highway corridors. I wondered if these trees could be used for bonsai, with their contortions and tormented austerity. It turns out they could! Thus began my journey. After my divorce in 2015, I left Maine and said ‘goodbye’ to many of the activities that I’d enjoyed, but not bonsai. Bonsai I brought back to Massachusetts with me. Since then, my connection to bonsai has led me to places and people I’d never imagined.

What do you enjoy most about the art of bonsai?

I truly enjoy the challenge of bonsai. While this discipline can be as easy or difficult as practitioners wish it to be, I try to push new boundaries and challenges with my own (100+ trees). Bonsai is also entirely unique in that it exists at the intersection of art, culture, science/horticulture, and the natural world — how cool is that??

What do you hope to bring to the world of bonsai with Bonsai Bar?

There are many misconceptions about bonsai, and often these lead to negative experiences where people become discouraged after losing trees. Bonsai Bar offers a new inroad with the highest probability of success to avoid that outcome. In Japan, the practice of bonsai has been dying off for decades. By comparison, in the West, bonsai has been on the rise with a sharp upturn of interest during the pandemic. As the bonsai tradition is transcultural, beginning with Penjing in China, before disseminating to Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, North America, South America, Europe, India, parts of Africa, and beyond, each with its own regional style and species to work with, the entire world can be enriched through bonsai. In Bonsai Bar, we are doing our part, taking this artform out of enclosed gardens and bringing it out to the public. Not to mention, at the same time, offering people a seriously fun time! Putting smiles on the faces of others puts a smile on my own, and that’s why I love my job.

What is your background in?

My professional background is a mosaic of unusual and eclectic jobs. The most significant of these were the ten years of working with youth in the nonprofit world, and my employment(s) within the art world. The latter includes other roles within the bonsai industry, working as a gallery framer, a private art dealer/purchasing agent, and being on the staff of a prestigious auction house. Currently, I’m writing my capstone to finish my Master’s in Museum Studies from Harvard, which ties a bow around my undergraduate degrees of Anthropology and Art History. In the future, I would like to open my own museum which celebrates cultural exchange and eliminates segregated galleries and the unnecessary drawing of lines between people. This utopian vision would include the first ever universal survey museum courtyard with a bonsai garden in it(!). My dream will take years to come to fruition, and until then, I look forward to making new friends and bringing living art to our communities via the Bonsai Bar experience. 

Name: Matt Arsenault

Homebase: Orlando, Florida

Title: C-Tree-O, Webmaster, General Tech & Support

How did you find your way into bonsai?

My brother Tim called me up and asked if I’d be willing to help him with the more technical aspects of Bonsai Bar. This freed Tim up to focus more on the bonsai aspects. And getting to work from home while chatting with my brothers for work was just not something I wanted to pass up.

What do you enjoy most about the art of bonsai? Trees.

What do you hope to bring to the world of bonsai with Bonsai Bar?  
The energy, passion, and enjoyment that I’ve seen my brothers and co-workers have to this art being shared among the masses.
What is your background in?
My background is in computer programming all over the spectrum, starting with videogame development, moving towards game art assets development, into Web design and development, and lastly in military training software. Enjoys puzzles/logic problems (anything that makes you really think), board & video games, and reading. 

Name: Ben Arsenault

Homebase: The Farmhouse, Scituate Rhode Island

Title: Tree Master

How did you find your way into bonsai?

My brother Tim got obsessed with bonsai and started dragging me along to collect wild trees in the Rockies and helping him repot/style the trees in his collection. I was also the first person he called when he came up with the crazy idea of doing Bonsai at bars. I told him, “Tim, you’re drunk! Go to sleep and call me in the morning”. But unlike most of his weird ideas, this one actually sounded like a good one.

What do you enjoy the most about the art of bonsai?

I like trees! I really enjoy envisioning how the tree will grow over time and watching your vision develop.

What do you hope to bring to the world of bonsai with Bonsai Bar?

Bad puns

What is your background in?

My degree is in political science, but I’ve worked a million odd jobs since college, serving, bartending, night shift work