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Home BLOGS Guest Blog A Week with Jeff Soto - Day 7

A Week with Jeff Soto - Day 7

Written by Jeff Soto   
Thursday, 09 March 2006 12:05
"The last day has come and I wanted to go out in a blaze of glory."

Sunday August 29, 2004

The last day has come and I wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. But so far today all I’ve done is catch up on all the things I’ve let slide this week. This forum thing as taken a lot of my time, especially the last three posts. Imagine taking about 100 photos throughout the day, going through and picking out about 30-50 good ones. Then resizing and adjusting the brightness. Then writing and uploading every image one at a time. That’s what I’ve done this last week every night. Seriously, I don’t know how the hell these daily bloggers do it. Shit I don’t know what to write about still, and I haven’t taken any pictures all morning. Something will come up.

It probably looks like I don’t do that much art throughout the week. And yeah, sometimes that’s true, this week is a good example. I don’t know where all the time went. Sometimes being an artist is like that. We’re not robots, we need to have some breaks from making art from time to time. I think I’m still burnt out from all the work I did earlier this year. I feel like I need a good 6 months off which is impossible. I have 5 group shows between now and January. Some are small and some are bigger in scale. I shouldn’t complain because many people would love to be in my shoes, but lately I’ve been feeling like I’m painting just to get things done for shows. All the galleries want paintings because that’s what will most likely sell, but I haven’t felt like painting at all. Maybe I’ll do all drawing for these upcoming shows. The galleries might not like that but ultimately I have to make myself happy. All I’ve wanted to do lately is change things up- sculpt, draw, watercolor, and work more graphically. I was supposed to be working on a screen print design this week and it never happened. I love painting but need a break from it. At least a small one.

So today I don’t have any plans except to get all my office busy work done. More of a typical boring day.

Right now I’m replying to emails, which have built up this week. At any given time I usually have about 30-50 messages flagged for a reply. Many of these are people commenting on my art. I try to reply back to everyone who has a question. Lots of people want to use my work for merchandise (toys, books, snowboards, shirts, coffee mugs, etc...) but I’m pretty selective. I don’t want to be one of those artists who will put their art on everything just to make a buck. Don’t quote me on that, maybe someday I’ll turn into a greedy artist that is only concerned with the almighty dollar (damn I hope not!). I just want to keep some integrity in my work. On the other hand, I think as an illustrator there is nothing wrong with licensing your old illustrations. If someone was interested in using some illustration I did for a Field & Stream for something like a coffee mug, I’d be down for it because the motivation for that piece was always to make money. Does that make sense? My personal work is different in that the motivation is not to get paid. I never count on pieces selling at a show. If people buy em’, it’s because they can see my vision and find it says something to them. I never paint a piece just because I think it will sell. I actually get sad when they sell! Almost every day someone emails me about using my art on merchandise. Usually their ideas sound cheesy or they have a really bad contract that I’d rather wipe my ass with than sign! There’s alot of companies that want to exploit artists, and they do it every day. They prey on the fact that most artists are struggling and will jump on any opportunity, even bad ones. I don’t blame the artists, I’ve taken on some bad projects with terrible contracts (or worse yet, no contract at all). Sometimes you have no choice and the bills don’t get payed by themselves. I wanted to bring this up because it seems like many of the fecal readers are upcoming artists and the only way to stop these companies is for artists to get educated about business. If you want to do illustration get a copy of the Graphic Artists’ Guild Pricing and Ethical guidelines book. Read it and take note. If you want to show in galleries, make sure you know what it’s all about. Artists, especially the young un’s have this notion that they’ll be selling out if they are approaching their art career like a business. The fact is, if you want to make a living doing art, you have to treat it like a business! Fine art is just as much a business as illustration, in many ways I see them as one in the same. A gallery will show your work because they think they can sell it. An art director will hire you because they think your work will sell product. In the end it’s all about money, so you can either know what’s going on or get ripped off. Okay, now I’m getting really off the subject. Sorry, sometimes I just get fed up with these companies that prey off young talented naive artists.

I was talking about my office chores.

Did more boring stuff that needs to get done like getting Paypal orders boxed up so I can take them to the post office tomorrow. Fucking customs forms are always a pain in the ass.

Heard on the radio that several hundred thousand protesters marched in New York today (police say 100,000, protesters said there were 500,000). That must have been a powerful sight. I think that’s something the Republicans have to at least think about . They can’t ignore that many people that are unhappy about where our country is headed. It’ll be interesting to see the protests when Bush is in town. I hope things don’t get too out of hand, don’t want to see any protesters hurt.

Angels winning again today, but also Oakland and Boston. Damn. All three teams have 9 wins in their last 10 games. Troy Glaus is back, that can only help. Go Angels!

Forgot to show the drawings the Clayton bros. did for me in their book Friday night at the opening. I’d been meaning to get it signed but never expected this much love. They went off in the book, pretty radical. No one says radical anymore huh? But it is. See:

My four year old nephew is sitting next to me and he wants to draw. I usually have to say no because I’m too busy. But this’ll be fun. I’ll try to get some pictures.

His drawing is called "Praymus". He gave it to me.

I gave him my drawing. He asked me the title so i called it "Red Robot" not as creative as Pryamus.

I think this is a map.

A scorpion.

A bumblebee.

A new screen print idea I'm working on. When I finish it it'll be off to Nat at Bloom Press who does a great job.

It’s late, I feel a little overwhelmed by what I’ve written down this week and all the things I feel I still have to say. Now I’m burnt out on painting AND writing. I hope I let you into a little bit of my mind. It’s been fun. Souther thinks I should make a zine of this. I do feel an urge to start recording things, but maybe in a journal, not splayed out on the web like this for everyone to read for years. That’s one of the things I worry about I guess. There’s going to be those people who don’t like what I have to say about things, and they’ll call me on it. But funk it, wasn’t there a Rick Nelson song with the lines, “ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself”. I think he’s right. Goodnight and Peace to all people on this planet Earth!
-Jeff Soto, August 29, 2004


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