Raymond Bonilla, an adjunct faculty member with the Department of Visual Arts and New Media at SUNY Fredonia and a 2005 graduate, has received a coveted Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators of New York for his poster design created for "The Piano Lesson."
The award was announced at the society's 55th annual exhibition, a world-wide competition of leading contemporary illustrators that runs Jan. 30 through March 2. Bonilla's design in the Advertising Illustration category was one of only three to receive the Gold Medal designation from a prestigious jury of professionals.
Advertising Illustration includes work for advertisements appearing in newspapers, magazines or television, for video and CD covers, brochures, fashion, point-of-purchase and packaging illustration, and movie and theater posters.
Bonilla created the poster last fall to promote "The Piano Lesson," the first play with an all-African-American cast produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Fredonia. The award-winning play by acclaimed playwright August Wilson presents the story of a young man who visits his sister and uncle in Pittsburgh in 1936 determined to sell the family's heirloom piano so he can buy the land on which his family had been slaves.
The "Piano Lesson" poster also won a Gold Award in Entertainment from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles at its 51st annual exhibition.
Last year, the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles conferred Honorable Mention status to Bonilla for his poster design for "High Plains Fandango," another Department of Theater and Dance production, at the society's 50th Exhibition in Los Angeles. Bonilla has created poster designs for the Walter Gloor Mainstage Entertainment Series at SUNY Fredonia for the last two years.
After graduating from SUNY Fredonia with a degree in New Media and Illustration, Bonilla received a master's of fine arts degree in 2009 at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. In addition to teaching at SUNY Fredonia, Bonilla also works as a freelance illustrator.
Alberto Rey, SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Fredonia, remembers Bonilla as a bright undergraduate student with a strong work ethic who began to flourish upon immersing himself in drawing and painting classes. Rey said Bonilla had no trouble getting accepted into some of the best graduate schools in the country as a result of the portfolio he created at SUNY Fredonia.
"His commitment to his craft has never faltered and he continually works on improving his work," Rey said. "In just a few years after completing his graduate degree, he is considered one of the finest artists in the country. This is a remarkable feat, and he is just beginning to receive the recognition he deserves. We are truly fortunate to have him as a faculty member in our department."