Jeff Soto is an American contemporary artist. His distinct color palette, subject matter and technique have been said to bridge the gap between Pop Surrealism and Street Art.
In 1989 Soto found a book while looking through the Riverside Downtown Library’s art section called Street Art. The book showcased early illegal art in New York as well as hip hop based subway graffiti of the 70′s. Inspired by this book, he began stenciling his “Sotofish” design on walls and signs. The following year he and a friend created a graffiti crew called CIA (Criminally Insane Artists) which attracted several other writers from their high school.
Soto adapted the moniker of “KILO”, “TREK” as well as “Sotofish” and started to tag, bomb and piece. In 1991 he met the artist Maxx242 and they began painting together. In 1995 they formed Bashers Crew which included members from Riverside, Los Angeles and Long Beach.
In 1999 Soto took a break from all aerosol painting, citing health reasons, boredom with the limitations of the spray can and conflict among graffiti writers. Ten years later in London, Soto visited artists D*Face and Word To Mother. Seeing their work in person inspired Soto to begin painting on walls again. Since then, Soto has reconnected with his graffiti roots and painted murals in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Miami, London and Paris. In 2010 he participated in the Underbelly Project, an illegal art gallery beneath the city of New York. In 2011 he completed his largest wall painting to date – “Les Chat Terrible” in Lyon, France. Soto claims he is not a graffiti writer or street artist, rather he calls himself “a muralist with an occasional urge to do some graf”.
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