“We got the bodacious, shameless brown girls covered”: Meet the unapologetic and hilarious duo, Sonic Yonix
Get ready to laugh with Bianca Gonzalez-Marra and Diandre Fuentes, the creative duo behind the bio-coastal Sonic Yonix.
- Jyni Ong
- 31 July 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Meet the bio-coastal creative duo Bianca Gonzalez-Marra (based in Queens) and Diandre Fuentes (based in Long Beach, California.) They’re two pals who met during their degrees at Rhode Island School of Design and who now make myriad collaborative works from comics and mixtapes to zines, illustrations and even art installations. While Bianca studied film and animation, Diandre was busy doing textile design. And now, bringing these various learnings together, the pair form Sonic Yonix; a vibrant expression female identity. The name a play off the word “yoni” meaning vagina in Sanskrit.
Back in university, the pair started out this collaboration by making experimental videos together. Diandre tells us: “A lot of what we did involved female foibles: the ugly underbelly of femininity and decolonising ourselves as women of colour (Bianca is Puerto Rican and I am Filipina.)” She remembers their first project together, a video about quinceañeras and “the beauty and toxicity of ‘coming of age’ ceremonies for girls.” Throughout university, the pair’s friendship deepened, not only due to their shared experiences as women of colour but also, Bianca explains, “by the fact that we’re both two grade-A ‘chismosas’ (someone who likes to gossip.)”
From the beginning, comedy has been an imperative aspect of Sonic Yonix. It’s a way to tackle complicated subject matters and personal experiences in an accessible and approachable manner. Bianca likens their brainstorming sessions to two stand-up comics trying to come up with the best, albeit weirdest, set up for a joke. After university, Sonic Yonix was a way to keep their “sanity at bay” while working those unlawful unpaid internships and trying to keep their creativity afloat.
Developing their natural ability to tell stories, Bianca and Diandre soon became interested in comics. A unique medium, Bianca goes on to explain that comics “lend themselves perfectly to storytelling but their cultural heritage has been very problematic.” A historically male-dominated space, the collaborators wanted to completely rethink what comics look like. “More often than not,” continues Bianca, “women in comics are presented the way men want to see them.” In turn, the artists’ goal was to portray femininity differently, from their perspective: “one that is as disgusting as it is beautiful.” Their first comic, for instance, is about a girl melting into a toilet with diarrhoea as she screams: “Hurts so good!”
When it comes to style, Sonic Yonix is ever-evolving aesthetically. Look closely, however, and you’ll see certain imagery cropping up frequently from time to time. Images loaded with emotive, cultural comforts flow into the works. Delicious foods from their childhoods, floral patterns adorning nightgowns or bedsheets and tropical foliage from their respective homelands are just a few examples of the visually-rich depictions that make their way into Sonic Yonix’s work. As for the shrimp mascot that appears across many of their works, “it’s because of culinary quirkiness and… shrimpiness?”
When it comes to the intricately drawn characters, “we got the bodacious, shameless brown girls covered,” says Diandre. An embodiment of empowerment and pride, Sonic Yonix is all about spotlighting the unapologetic alter ego across all ages (the older ladies modelled after mums, grannies and other elders of course.) It’s a fearless mode of expression that’s connected Sonic Yonix with grassroots organisations all over the country. The Teros Gallery for instance – a space which has deep connections with the creative community in San Diego, the California borderlands and Tijuana – hosted Sonic Yonix’s first exhibition last year.
They transformed the space into an abstracted supermarket, painting the walls with motifs and themes which celebrate the ultimate way to express and share love; in this case, that’s a dedication to their matriarchal families not to mention a passion for food. Sonic Yonix’s nurturing relationship with Teros Gallery is also shared with other grassroots institutions that they hope to continue contributing to in the future. This includes the likes of Grlsquash; a queer, women of colour-centred food journal on the east coast, a culinary duo titled Sup Street Food and many many more POC-run indie print shops that continue to support Bianca and Diandre’s work wholeheartedly. Diandre finally goes on to say of these blooming relationships: “After all this Covid-19 mess is over, we hope to continue collaborating with this amazing community, to put on shows or pop-up meals or fundraisers, or who knows what!” So stay tuned to Sonic Yonix to find out.
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.