Artist: Daniel Bonilla (with the help of Dalia Banuelos)
Media: Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Maxine Merlino Gallery
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.