Week 9 – Artist Conversation – Daniel Bonilla

Artist: Daniel Bonilla (with the help of  Dalia Banuelos)
Exhibition: Social
Media: Gallery: CSULB School of Art,  Maxine Merlino Gallery
Website: http://www.dbvphotography.com/

Daniel Bonilla is an undergrad senior who was rejected from CSULB for a BFA in photography who displays a strong affection for photography. After taking a photography class as a child, he grew to love photography. Although he had been rejected from the program, that did not deter him from moving forward and creating more art. With the help of his friend Rather than displaying his frustration in counterproductive and destructive ways, he chose to make an art exhibition out of his art, recycling it in a way that bends it toward his theme of displaying failures rather than successes.

Upon walking into the exhibition, you are greeted with the dim darkness of the room. Looking past the darkness, it is easy to make out the sign on a person in a fetal position, held behind a seemingly never-ending black string. The room looks littered with past works of art yet looks clean since they are all interconnected. Each string ties together most of the art pieces, combining them into a single piece with a shared purpose. In the corner, there is a trashcan, filled with past works, that intercepts the path of the black string. In the corner we see yet another model that is also in a vulnerable position and wearing a color of black which is common throughout the whole exhibition.

The frustration of Bonilla’s rejection resonates through the exhibit. The blackness of it all, from the clothes, the dimness, and the strong signify a tragedy and a death. Yet he uses the tragedy of the rejection in an act of rebirth and recycling, creating a new exhibition from his previous works. The models toward the back further help us empathize with his rejection. If it were to have a face, we would all know how it looks. Yet Bonilla leaves us to create the image after leaving us with his emotions. Just by looking through the exhibit, we identify with his feelings. We feel the frustration, the tears, and the heartbreak of being rejected from something that you were passionate about.

I think we all can connect with Bonilla and his friend. When we someone that is successful, we think of all their successes and their “A’s,” rather than their failures and their “F’s.” We showcase our successes even though we have those times where we feel like failures. Many of us even have to deal with the heartbreak of being rejected for something we love dearly – whether it be getting an F in a class for the subject we love or getting a failure letter from your school of choice. In the end, we have to come to terms with our failures and move on instead of letting it consume of. Bonilla is doing exactly that through his creation of this exhibition and most likely more to come.





Week 9 – Activity – Art Care Package

Today I’m sending out an Art Care Package to my aunt, who lives several miles down the street from me. I used to visit her house all the time back when I was a child, but that has long stopped. Now over a year, I might visit two or three times compared to, I’d guess, 20 times a year back when I was 7 to 10. Since we haven’t been talking to each other for a while, she hasn’t gotten a chance to know how I’ve been growing and how my personality has changed over the years.

In the package I included things that I own and describe me. The five things are: a protective case for Sennheiser earbuds, a bag of rubber bands for my braces, earplug (unused), a Chinese New Year sleeve given to me by my girlfriend’s grandma, and a very heartfelt card that my girlfriend had written for me.

Not all these items are very sentimental to me, but it shows her things that I still hold on to and still describe me. Just by looking at it, she can connect with my experiences such being with my girlfriend, being Asian, and wearing braces.

The ACP is comparable and different from sending a Snapchat in several ways. In a Snapchat, you are not supposed to hold on to what you see. You see your friend, your relative, or whoever sends you the snap for several seconds. For the ACP the items are ephemera which stays with you physically. It makes you think of the person every time you see it, just like a Snapchat would. When you reminisce about great times what that person, you can see ephemera or Snapchat and think about your past with them for ages.

Ephemera is precious in the way that your memories are triggered just by looking and feeling them. They do not necessarily have to be a sentimental item of the person, however it still leaves the same effect. You feel connected to the person through the medium of the item in front of you. Your grandma was given this ticket and now you have it in your hands. You can think about the experience just by looking at it. With the ephemera I’m handing over to my grandma, she can get a better idea of who I actually am and connect with me through the medium for years to come.



Week 8 – Drawing #2 – Sketching in the Garden

This week, we went out to the Japanese Garden out near the hillside dorms. My girlfriend and many of my friends from the group that I hang out with had gone there and I pretty much was the only one that hadn’t seen it yet. I heard many good things about it and I really didn’t know what to expect. Upon seeing it though, I am really pleased to comment on how peaceful and in touch with nature the garden is. The koi fish in the pond, the rocks, and the bridges reminded me a lot of my Asian culture. Being able to sit down and just partake in the view and the atmosphere really helped a lot when I drew my sketch. A calm peace of mind is what I find most important for tasks like these. So having found zen, I went to work on my sketch.


So my sketch primarily focused on the center of the garden, which is found by the rocks. I drew things which I acknowledged and noticed meanwhile sitting down on the rock. The outline of the pond along with its shape, the bridges, the tree on the left, the ducks, and the fish. I tried my best to drew a duck that actually looked like a duck just mindlessly swimming in the pond. ONLY TO BE STARTLED BY JAWS AND ANOTHER SHARK. I couldn’t see the bottom of the pond, so I used my imagination to have fun with the sketch. Having the ability to make the sketch mine and play around with the concept and idea of garden really helped out in keeping me interested in sketching.

Week 8 – Classmate Conversation

Daniel Martinez is a 2nd year student at CSULB who is currently pursuing a Civil Engineering degree with a focus on transportation. He and I have similar views, seeing as how we are both engineers, for art. When we think of art, we think of sketches, designs, and structures associated with our field. For me that would be airplanes, rockets, and formula one cars whereas for Daniel it would be buildings and their architecture, such as buildings in New York, Dubai, and the Collosseum. When I asked him if he would mind his child pursuing art, he had no qualms against to idea. However, he did mention he doesn’t know how the child would get his artistic flair since no one in his family is artisitc. Lastly, when I checked through his phone, he didn’t seem to share any applications with me. But that was mostly because I am very low-key in social media, having very little social media apps whereas Daniel has quite a bunch.


Week 7 – Artist Conversation #5 – Nathaniel Paderanga

Artist: Nathaniel Paderanga
Exhibition: Social
Media: Gallery: CSULB School of Art,  Maxine Merlino Gallery
Website: http://njpanda5.deviantart.com/
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/njpanda5/ (Private)


Nathaniel Paderanga is a student at CSU Long Beach who is currently pursuing a BFA in drawing and painting. His passion for the art-form began at the age of 18. One of the largest influences on him to paint is his mother, Karen S. Paderanga, who passed away last year on September 30th. Driven by his mother’s passing, he became driven to become a better painter. He is fond of traditional painting, which is easily characterized in his paintings within the exhibition. After graduating from Long Beach, he aspires to become a painting teacher.

Upon walking into the exhibition, I was intrigued by the variety of his paintings and the vibrancy of colors. From far away we could see his strokes on the painting and the contrasts of color, which easily isolated the focal point of his paintings. In every painting, there were notable things that stood out, which seemed out of place. For some, like the painting of the fisherman, it seemed much like the person or object of focus was just stuck in there after a the landscape was created, causing some disorder. For many others the focal point seemed to be created in a way where it was overwhelming due to the lighting and colors used, much like the portrait of his grandpa, which was left untitled.

Paderanga’s exhibition took on role of highlighting social and racial imbalances in our American society. There are things that are perfectly normal for people to do, such as celebrating a party and fishing. However, when we add the detail of race, things begin to seem out of place. Instead of thinking about whatever they are doing, we instead focus on their race. This is extremely evident in Paderanga’s painting “The Fisherman,” which is the former of the pictures above. We see an Asian man fishing on a pier, a normal activity that should have nothing wrong. However, we can’t help but fixate on his race. There are several details that attribute to this. First, the man is wearing contrasting colors between his baseball cap and his coat. Next, he is wearing shoes that contrast with the age depicted by the white hair and the liver spots depicted by Paderanga’s use of shading. Third, his ethnicity is brought to attention by carefully subtle colors around his face. From all these we can tell this this is an Asian man who dressed out of his age and sticks out “like a sore thumb.” We judge the man not by his action, but by his appearance. He is performing an ordinary action, but appears out of place, therefore we begin to discriminate. Through many details in his paintings, Paderanga isolates his characters to commentate on social issues that are unfairly undeserved.

I can easily connect to Paderanga’s message in my everyday life. I am a first generation Vietnamese citizen, born from immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 70’s and 80’s. When I see my dad’s choice of clothes, what comes to mind is how many people would judge him. Just like the fisherman in the painting, he is an older Asian man who loves to wear his hat, which sort of fulfills a stereotype in many onlooker’s minds. At times, he may also look out of place. They judge how he is like just by seeing him due to stereotypes, but that is unfair. To truly know how a person is you need to talk to them. A stereotype does no justice to either party since the assumptions that a person makes through them is often wrong. It hurts the people who are judged and it negatively affects the person judging. In our society we are surrounded by social issues such as this and often they are easily found in everyday, ordinary situations.

Week 6 – Activity – Flip Book

This week’s activity was a choice between either the flip book or the zine. I personally chose the flip book because I figured my lack of art skills would allow me enjoy doing the flip book more. Also a flip book allows people to show movement, which adds a totally different dimension for us to play with. That’s not to say that a zine is boring, it still holds a ton of potential although I don’t think I could pull from since I’m not very artistic. For a flip book, I could do something simple and doable meanwhile keeping it interesting. Before starting my flip book, I had several ideas pop into my head such as someone moving his arms and flexing, an airplane taking off, and a car driving by. However, feeling limited by my art skills once again, I tried to make something that I could manage while adding my own personal touch and taste into it.

To put my own spin into my flip book, I wanted to do something characteristic of my major, which is Aerospace Engineering, such as a plane taking off. However I instead dumbed it down to a bird taking a shit at just the right time, which ends with the bird shit landing into a cup underneath. Initially I wanted to draw a kid eating ice cream and the bird shit landing on to the ice cream as the kid eats it. But alas, once again I was too intimidated by my lack of art skills. The shit flying through the air takes a path of a parabola due to gravity and friction in the air, lending itself to physics. The hardest part in doing the flipbook was creating the parabola. Instead of moving in one direction, the drops of bird shit move in two. And better yet one direction accelerates, moving faster over time. In order to illustrate this, I drew my next paper on top of the last, trying to simulate a parabola. To be honest the parabola doesn’t look very great, but at least it’s something.


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Week 6 – Artist Conversation #4 – Blaine Scot Prow

Artist: Blaine Scot Prow
Exhibition: Extrusions
Media: Bristol and Foamcore
Gallery: CSULB School of Art,  Maxine Merlino Gallery
Website: In Progress
Instagram: Tiffuits

Blaine is a Studio Arts major who is currently in his last year at CSU Long Beach. He says that since a young age, he was fascinated at the relation between two dimensional and three dimensional space and math. This passion for math carried all the way through college, leading him to originally become an engineering student in community college. After several years in bouncing around schools and majors, he settled on studio arts. Finally after more than tens years, he will be graduating after next semester. After college he is planning to apply for a graphic design job at an automotive company. Before then, he plans to take on several internships to build experience. Hopefully everything works out for him.

My most notable thought that came to my mind upon walking in the exhibition was that it was tidy. The lighting was at a perfectly illuminated the black and white pieces, which were separated orderly. Blaine’s pieces of arts were easily the focal points of the exhibition. They were hard to miss since everything pointed to them. Furthermore, the pieces pointed outward, with two of them pointing toward the door.



Blaine’s exhibition focused on the relation between 2-D and 3-D. The way the
3-D cutouts aligned perfectly the black 2-D shapes curbed a feeling in me that made me think of OCD. For 2-D we have a flat background whereas for in 3-D we have corners, edges, and planes that complement the  2-D backgrounds. The background is black whereas the shapes are white, which gives all the attention to the shapes. There is nothing to take away the viewer’s focus from the geometry. The piece in the first picture, This That, the edges of the plane are manipulated into a square prism. The way Blaine manipulated the five corners of the 2-D into four corners and a peak in 3-D makes it more orderly. The symmetry of the shapes complements the symmetry of the background. Lastly, the colors of black and white strongly contrast to allow the viewer to appreciate all the little details of the shapes.

I can somewhat relate to Blaine’s passion for math and shapes. Shapes are everywhere around us and it is super interesting to see how something 2-D can be forms in the something that is 3-D. This is easily seen in engineering applications, such as a soda can. A sheet of metal is turned into a shape which maximizes volume meanwhile fitting perfectly within the human hand. As an aerospace engineer, the math that we go over leads to us further understand this relation between 2-D and 3-D and we find further ways to utilize it within our lives.