1RUN Thru Interview
Cat Goddess by Jeff Soto
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece, is the original still for sale?
Jeff Soto: The original went to a gallery in Germany and it sold. So no, it is not available.
1xRun: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had?
Jeff Soto: The “Cat Goddess” is part of a series of paintings looking at the life cycle of living things. I would say I’m “spiritual” but not very religious. We talked about it in my family, we talked about Jesus and God, but we did not practice a religion. I’m always questioning why we’re here, and what it’s all about, and the answers are never clear to me. I do like to think we have spirits or energy, and I wonder where that energy goes when we pass? I feel that, if humans possess this energy, then all living things must possess it as well. The Cat Goddess is some sort of passageway or portal to somewhere else. I envision the mouth opening and taking the soul to a beautiful and safe place. Maybe Heaven?
1xRun: What materials were used to create this piece with?
Jeff Soto: I painted this with acrylic paint on a large wood panel.
1xRun: When was the piece created?
Jeff Soto: It was created a few months ago for an exhibit with my friend Maxx242. We had a two person show in Nuremberg Germany called Fire Within.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Jeff Soto: I was drawing for the show and wanted to paint a cat. Cats are my favorite animal, they’re the right combination of ferocious and friendly. I thought it fit into the theme of death and rebirth, as cats supposedly have nine lives.
1xRUN: How long did the piece take?
Jeff Soto: The original is 6 feet across. It was the largest painting I have worked on recently and I painted it for over a week. It went though a few different looks. I tried using a Bob Ross brand brush to paint in the mossy foliage and trees which was fun. I was having trouble with the painting towards the end and realized it needed whiskers. Once they were added it really started to pop! My favorite part to work on was all the rock clusters and the skull on top.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece compared to your other work?
Jeff Soto: It’s one of the most colorful paintings I have ever done. I started teaching a painting class a couple years ago. When I first started teaching, it messed up my own art because I was always thinking about the academic aspects of painting. It was almost like I had to relearn painting, and especially color. I feel like I took advantage of all my color knowledge on this one.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Jeff Soto: They should get it if they enjoy the image and want to add color to their life. It’s a pretty positive image despite being about the cycle of life and death!
1xRun: Describe this piece in one gut reaction word.
Jeff Soto: Vibrant.
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Jeff Soto: I started making art as a child. Drawing Star Wars scenes and animals and stuff. I was pretty good at drawing so I kept at it and by the time I was a teenager I decided I wanted to make a living with art. It’s been a rocky ass roller coaster ride, but I’m doing it!
1xRun: What was your first piece?
Jeff Soto: My first piece? Well, my first graffiti piece was in 1989 when I was 14. There was this wall out in a field nearby my house. I snuck out in the late afternoon with some spray paint and waited for it to get darker. I painted some letters in the darkness, just an outline with no color. Didn’t really know what I was doing, my line was all fuzzy and drippy, it was a mess! But I was instantly hooked!
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Jeff Soto: Before I got into graffiti I liked children’s book illustrators like Mercer Mayer and Stephen Kellog. I was also getting into some of the fine art stars. I got really into Andy Warhol in high school, I loved reading about The Factory.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Jeff Soto: So many… Dave Kinsey, Aron Wisenfeld, Taylor McKimens, Rob Sato, David Choe, Tristan Eaton… It’s pretty cool that I have got to meet so many of these artists. I’m also really getting inspired lately by cartoons…. Avatar the Last Airbender came out a while ago but I’m just now watching it and it’s beautifully drawn.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
Jeff Soto: I’ve been listening to DVD/ASA podcast lately but I can only do that for a while before I need a change. I mostly listen to music while I work, lately a lot of the old stuff from the 80’s- The Cars, Genesis, Talking Heads, Heart, The Police… I guess pop music from the 80’s…. that shit was good then and it’s good still. It’s funny I didn’t really like it that much back when it was on the radio, but now it’s fun to reminisce. I’m really into nostalgic stuff from when I was a kid- late 70’s early 80’s…
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be?
Jeff Soto: I’d do a cartoon with Hayao Miyazaki!
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Jeff Soto: That’s a tough question, there’s so many possibilities. Make a film with Dali or maybe go plein air painting with Van Gogh.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
Jeff Soto: It is a Dave Cooper painting of a naked lady on a couch. We do still have it. The last was a Totero poster by Olly Moss. It’s framed and up in my living room.
1xRun: Do you have any upcoming shows or events that you’d like to share?
Jeff Soto: I’m doing some art for Coachella this year, painting a mural on site! I’m working on a new body of work this year, trying some new things…