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Bright reds and oranges, scraps of discarded street signs and grainy newspaper photo transfers combine to make Willie Bonner's artwork vivid and indelible, with the intense images practically jumping into the consciousness of the viewer.
Although Bonner is himself soft-spoken and lower-key than his searing colors and thick lines, the UA painting graduate student is still passionate about the reaction he would like his eclectic collage style to produce.
"It's a cluster of many styles woven together to create dialogue with the viewers," Bonner said.
Examples of Bonner's artwork - ranging from nude figures to mixed media and abstract works - are currently on display in his exhibit, "Recent Paintings" at the Arizona Gallery in the Memorial Student Union. Bonner also recently created the mural that decorates the exterior of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. building.
A career artist, Bonner first discovered art at the tender age of 4, when he visited the Cleveland Museum of Art and was "overwhelmed" by what he saw - as well as what he did not see.
Bonner said he felt the experiences of American blacks were not widely enough represented in art, so he now often draws from his life as a black man in America to produce his images - portraying both his personal observations as well as creating new ideas that whites have not afforded blacks, he said.