Daniel Eloy ’15 is the type of person who will tell you his opinion about pretty much anything. When he met me in Smith Union, he had just rushed from the art studio; half-wearing a scarf, he immediately slumped into an armchair. His voice was barely audible over the rambunctious conversations in the Union, but his words had weight (and marked lack of pettiness) so I leaned in to catch everything.
Most recently, Eloy proposed and executed the much-discussed “We Stand With You” photo-installation in response to this fall’s bias incidents. His work involved taking and editing portraits of 544 students.
“I just wanted people to look at them and feel like there was a sense of community here even in the face of bias and hate,” said Eloy.
Eloy has always been involved in the arts, but didn’t take art classes until he came to Bowdoin. It was only this year that he seriously started considering art as a major and career path. Eloy said art is all he does now, but this wasn’t always the case.
“When I was a first year and a sophomore, I didn’t want to be an art major and when I took art classes, I kind of half-assed them and didn’t put a lot of effort in. I did what I needed to do to get the grade, honestly. Sometimes I hit gold and other times I didn’t,” he said.
He decided to major in visual arts over the summer, coming with a new attitude this semester.
“At this point I spend as much time on a piece as the piece needs until it’s done—whatever that is, however long that takes—sometimes it’s all-nighters and sometimes it’s a few hours.”
Eloy just finished his submission for a competition in his Public Art class, where students designed artwork for space in front Fort Andross. The submissions had a $30,000 budget.
“It was a lot of fun to get to think in such a huge scale,” he said.
He is currently working on a photo-etching book of portraits, a project he said he was inspired by specific close-up images and memories of those people.
Eloy does not expect the average viewer to understand the intricacies of his work, nor does he necessarily want them to.
“I like very intimate things—stuff that I or people that are in the art piece would understand, as long as it’s still aesthetically pleasing to everyone else. I don’t want what I make to be distancing in any way from the audience, but I do like that there is a level that they won’t understand sometimes.”
But Eloy goes beyond these ambiguities for the viewer. He says he is often inspired by politics—domestic and international—as well as literature.
Eloy is a visual arts major and an English minor (maybe major, if he takes two more classes). He feels a close connection to these subjects, and is aware of a relationship between art and text.
“I like to read for fun. And so if a book strikes me, a lot of times I’ll highlight passages that I can imagine as pieces.”
What Eloy aims to accomplish in his visual art varies from piece to piece. But a long-term and essential goal is to impact the viewer in more than a passive way.
“I want whoever is passing to stop and look,” said Eloy. “If they’re walking through a space where there’s a lot of art, I want them to stop at mine because they want to look at it or something intrigues them.”
Eloy also participates in the Slam Poets’ Society, and sees his work there as an extension of his art.
“Writing is important to me. Anything I can do to express myself privately: journaling, writing poetry for Slam, and then reading. I really like to read.”
Eloy sees the world through an artist’s lens, literally.
“I carry my camera everywhere I go. So if the opportunity arises, I’ll take a picture,” he said.
“And I doodle a lot. I don’t know if that’s art, but sometimes those lead to things that are more than doodles.”