Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Artist Interviews: Leenda Bonillla, Artist/Collaborator/Collagist/Art Instigator

1. What was your first love in the world of art? 
That’s tough to answer. I guess when you’re little the exposure was to classics, so it was Picasso…. but it was picking up a Frida Kahlo book at my library that blew me away. School wasn’t teaching art history so I got that bio about her with pics of her life and works. However, what transcended me was Cindy Sherman… she used photography and a format I had been doing since my teen years, she taught me selfies first. 

2. What so you love to look at? 
I enjoy foreign and indie films, it’s not Hollywood. I remember my walk to the video store around the corner and I remember saying to myself, “I don’t want to see same stuff” and I spotted a movie called “Where the River Runs Black”. That genre for me, tells stories of the “other” and I can relate to them, or not. It sweeps me away with visuals and dialogues that inspire me. 

3. What are your three dream art projects?
OH… let’s see there are so many but at the moment I can think of: 
1. Organize a float at the Puerto Rican Day parade with pre, during and post colonial costumes, performance and installation. 
2. Create an installation titled “My So-Called Puerto Rican Life” 
3. Write a short play called, “Stuttering in Spanish”

4. What does MainlandMix mean for you? 
MainLAND_MIX is how I associate being bi-cultural. I am first generation born in NYC and grew up traveling back and forth to Puerto Rico. After the cocoon of youth I realized that I don’t “fit” in either stereotype of the Nuyorican or the Island Rican, hence, MainLAND_MIX.

5. What keeps you in nyc?
I knew since I was little that NYC is the only place where I can see, taste, hear, smell and find items that come from all over the world. With NYC neighborhoods being more diverse than ever it only motivates me to stay. I’ve travelled quite a bit and I can say that there’s no place like NYC, really. Though, I witness the disparity now more than ever with past socieo-economic initiatives from the previous administration. I hope that change will happen with the new one. 
It seems being a native New Yorker is rare thing nowadays. My siblings left and my parents are here and majority of my family live on the Island while some migrated to other parts of the mainland and I don’t see myself anywhere else mainland-wise.

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