Artist: Dalia Banuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera
Media: Photography, Various Objects
Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Website: N/A, dbvphotography.com
Instagram: @Deliaeffect, @dbvqp
About the Artist
Following dreams is what life’s all about. There may obstacles that may arise, but the key to success is to continue to strive for a better day. That is exactly what these two up and coming CSULB art students did. After Dalia Banuelos was rejected from the photography program for the second time she felt the urge to make a statement. After the second rejection from an art program you are no longer able to reapply to the program unless you switch to a different university. Dalia knew she had to express the way she felt. She tried recruiting fellow art students who she knew had also received rejection letters from the photography program. Though many who she tried to recruit did not want to participate in her project, she finally found someone who did; her good friend Daniel Bonilla-Vera. Daniel had been rejected once from the photography program and is currently awaiting the response of his second submission.
Getting an exhibition space was not easy; first they had to write a proposal and get a faculty to sponsor them. Then they had to wait, since they are not BFA or MFA students their chance of getting an exhibition space was slim. Both are currently Studio Art majors and are pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree. If Daniel gets into the photography program she will be pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the School of Art.
When Dalia is not photographing she enjoys her martial arts classes. After graduating she plans to work, and maybe in the future further her art education but is scared of getting into debt.
As for Daniel, he enjoys anything that has to do with art. He like to do carvings and other art stuff. In the future he plans to take some time off and then go to graduate school.
Walking into the exhibition you see the walls covered in photography prints. In the middle of the floor there is figure that resembles the human form in a striped sweater, and in the corner there is another human form in a purple sweater. There is string that is hung all around the exhibition. The ball of yarn, which the string is coming from, is placed in a gold plated trash bin that is full of prints.
The photographs that are hung in the exhibition are prints that both artist had submitted to the photography department and that had the program had rejected. The artist wanted to showcase how they felt the moment they received the rejection letters. Not only were they rejected, but they received no explanation as to why that was. They felt confused and distraught because they did not know what they did wrong or why their art work was not up to par. They began to question other people’s art. There were people who they believed had amazing art pieces, but who were also rejected from the program; and other people who had questionable pieces that had been admitted into the program.
The human forms on the floor of the exhibition was meant to capture both artists. The forms had clothing that belonged to each artist. For those people who previously knew the artist, they knew which form represents each artist. The one with the purple sweater is meant to be Daniel, he loves that purple sweater and is known for wearing it; as to the other figure, Dalia is known for her striped clothing, she loves anything with stripes. The human forms have strings that are coming out of them and the strings have photographs attached. The strings are meant to represent multiple things. First, the strings are used as an alternative way to show photography. The second thing is that everything in the exhibition is connected by that one string. If something were to happen to that string, everything would come down. And the last thing the string represents is the process of the print and how the end point for some prints is inevitably the trash bin.
Synthesis/ My Experience
Hearing the two art students discuss their rejection experience was heartbreaking. They both had traveled to come to CSULB to pursue their photography career. They explained how not many schools offer a BFA in photography because it is a small field and a dying field at that. It is costly and the advances in technology has made traditional photography obsolete. I personally love photography and have looked into taking a class on campus where I could develop my own film and make prints and play with the filters. It’s a heartbreaking story because dreams have become shattered and they have begun to question their art work. If it is good enough, or if they need to look at a different route. It was pretty mind-blowing that the photography program does not give any explanations as to why they rejected the artists. Since art is abstract and there are many different opinions it’s hard to understand why some people are accepted and others are rejected. I loved the idea of the exhibition and their determination to continue to pursue what they love to do.