Artist: Daniel Bonilla-Vera
Media: Photographs, yarn, clothes,
Gallery: Maxine Merlino Gallery
About the Artist
Daniel Bonilla-Vera is a very intriguing and talented photographer from the central valley of California. He and his co-artist on this particular gallery, Dalia Bañuelos (who was not present at the time of the interview) have created a very different, but statement oriented piece that I really admired. He is a senior at CSULB who is majoring in Studio Art; however, has just recently put in an application to the BFA Photography Program where he hopes to continue his amazing photography. He mentioned that he is on his second attempt to get in but with he has high hopes that he gets his wish of being accepted into the program, while Bañuelos on the other hand, has utilized both chances at getting in to the program and was unfortunately not accepted. Needless to say, this is what the basis of this gallery is all about.
This gallery was probably one of the most interesting and moving galleries that I’ve seen at the SOA Galleries since we began coming in the beginning of the semester. Each photograph in the gallery was taken by Bonilla-Vera or Bañuelos and they’re sadly that photo that they got rejected with in their applications to the BFA Photography Program. The use of yarn as one long piece to hold up every photograph in the area was amusing. There were also photos that were not hung up fully or uniformly. A lot of straight-edged photos with straight yarn in between them to secure them, as well as two clothed bodies that were in hunched over positions under all of the photos were used.
The thought process that he and Bañuelos used while creating this gallery was simple but had so much meaning and a little bit of anger behind it. When asked what the overall meaning of the piece was about, he answered and what I took from it was that this was an act of rebellion towards the SOA Galleries and how in these galleries the photographs are supposed to be framed and hung on walls, and obviously they strayed far from those “rules.” Personally, I interpreted the two dark-clothed people that were in hunched over positions on the ground, to show their sadness, but also their anger towards the BFA Photography Program. To show that their work, that is obviously very talented, does have the potential to be admitted into the program and they showed it through this gallery.
I was very enthralled by this particular gallery. I found it to have so much meaning and so much humanness in it, because it was something that wasn’t so much “normal” or “nice,” it was real and had raw meaning to it. I also really enjoyed talking to Daniel, which surprisingly enough, we actually are from the same area back home, so we were able to connect a little more. We talked about his situation, the BFA Photography Program situation, and I really felt for him and as we kept talking I could see that he wanted it and that he had worked so hard for it. I could not imagine the stress and anxiety that he was feeling that whole week (he was getting his acceptance or rejection letter by the end of this week). One of the reasons I couldn’t imagine the anxiety that he was going through this week was because he had put in his application to the program, but later had created this gallery with his friend that basically rebelled against the CSULB SOA, and I only hope so much that they don’t take that into consideration while they reviewed his application.