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 Painter      Sonoma County     OLi Gallery   

Dustin Bonivert

My paintings are the culmination of my dreams from two different times in my life; my pop-culture-fueled childhood, flushed into the malaria fever dreams of a combat veteran. 

I fought in the Afghanistan war in 2009. One of the many changes after this experience was my perspective of popular culture media. Our society is filled with simplistic stories of good-guy justified violent action. What kind of influence does this have on a society? I don’t think there is an easy answer, but I often consider it in my paintings. 

My robotic lions are based on toys about heroes that inspired me as a child. Robotic lions also represent the feelings of many combat veterans who say they have become like robots, missing human emotions and trapped behind a mask. Inspired by the landscapes of Afghanistan, I share my peaceful hopes and dreams for veterans, Afghans, and small monkeys alike. In these surrealist dreams, machines of war are no longer needed but have been left behind, too bulky and too damaged to go home. They look to find another purpose when they can only have one. 

I was born in 1980 and have never been too far from a pencil and paper. I use traditional oil painting methods taught to me by Aleksander Balos, whose teaching lineage can be traced back to Jaques-Louis David and 18th-century France. 

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