Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jeff Soto - The Pop-Surrealist Picasso

Hey Everyone, 

I initally found out about my favourite artist Jeff Soto when I noticed that two of my favourite bands Finch and Halifax had similar artwork on each of their albums - well a similar vibrant, zany, eclectic and trippy style which I thought and still think looks awesome beyond belief. Curious to know the artist behind the intensely beautiful album art I had a geez in the album booklets looking for the artist behind the work and my results yielded the same artist, a cryptic Californian named Jeff Soto. Wanting to see more, I did a random google images search which filled my computer screen with a myriad of beautiful works and I instantly became hooked on Jeff Soto's work.

Jeff Soto's style is his own, however, like all artists his art can be associated with the collective art movements that seem to go around and if you had to categorise it with a specific movement you'd say (well his wikipedia page says) that Soto's work is part of the pop-surrealist or Low-Brow art movement. A popular artmovement that originated from California that stems from street art, punk subculture and other subcultures that reject the status quo. Moreover, Pop-Surrealism is considered outsider art and part of the stuckism art movement which refuse to stem within the conforms of conceptual and socially accepted art. Pop-surrealist painters include: Takashi Murakami, Manuel Ocampo and the Clayton Brothers

Jeff Soto was and still is a street artist and notably, many of his artworks still contain that raw graffiti and street artesque quality about it. He's art is influenced by Californian hip-hop culture, punk culture and street art. Like street art which criticises and exposes the dull realities of suffering, Jeff communicates (according to his website) "profound visions and fears, nostalgia of his youth, and themes of love, lust, and hope". I couldn't agree more with that statement, however, I extend that there are strong anti-war as well as post-modernist (rather existentialist) elements in his work which appeals to me on deeper level as well. 
Moreover, I believe (and his website agrees with me) that there is a strong environmental element that permeates throughout most of his work. He mixes iconoraphy of the enviroment and of manmade objects to create a beautiful as well as poetic juxtaposition of the "conflict of humans trying to harness, or take advantage of nature" (his website again). He captures this battle between the natural and the artificial (or man vs. nature) through his signiture use of robotic/mecha like creatures which have mutated with nature to create arbitrary yet beautiful objects of profound fascination and an edgy melancholy.

Now for the good part. Here are some of my personal favourites ; try to guess what Jeff Soto is trying to say in all of them....

So what do you guys think? Beautiful eh? I really don't think about them too much.... I think their just visually appetizing but when I do think about them - their meaning if profound.

If you guys wanna check out his blog click here . It's a pretty interesting and awesome blog with pictures as well as explanations for the artwork he is currently working on. Amazing work. Truly amazing. 
Well, that's all I have you folks today. 
Peace out. Make Art Not War.


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