In anticipation of our first ever release with artist Andi Soto, we sat down with her to learn about her life and her artwork. Take a look below:
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in Panama, Central America. I’m currently located in Croatia.
What are your first artistic memories?
I was so young. I remember I wanted to draw horses and landscapes all the time (kind of obsessed with horses now that I think about it). So naturally I felt drawn to unicorns and dragons. Good times.
How has your style evolved from over the years to now? Have you always dealt with the same themes?
My beginnings as an artist were heavily influenced by manga and anime, mainly by Sailor Moon. I always wanted to keep that anime/manga energy in my work, with a tint of explorations of human anatomy and the human situation and emotions. Even though I enjoy working with very dark subject matters, I try to vary my themes via floral arrangements, color palettes and hand gestures.
Could you tell us a bit about your work and this week's release with us, "The Removal of Masks?”
The Removal of Masks was meant to be a release of emotions. The way we hide behind personality traits, physical manifestations and even behavior. The Removal of these are meant to be cathartic.
What is a normal day like in the studio for you?
The morning coffee and contemplation in the morning is a must, if I don’t do this part, my entire day is kind of strange. I kind of avoid making plans when I’m about to hit the drawing table, I know I can only hyper focus on one thing and one thing only: “the illustration in front of me”. I usually overthink as well. While working, I tend to get easily distracted, so I avoid listening to music. What I do is listen to podcasts and books, that way, I usually find phrases or sentences within those programs that give me ideas for future projects. My drawing table is full of those messages, phrases and sentences, and with them, I arrange them carefully as new ideas for illustrations. It’s a strange way to find inspiration these days, and I love it, and in the meantime, I learn a lot of different authors and artists that are way better with words than me. Not sure if this makes any sense, haha!
What is the hardest part of creating a work?
I get distracted so easily! If something is not in its right place, I’ll stop doing whatever I’m doing and clean everything up, rearrange my working table and start again. Luckily, it happens twice a week. After everything is in its right place, I don’t have any issues getting into those long hours of inking and coloring.
And what is the most rewarding part?
When I see that my pens are running out of ink. It’s so satisfying to see a tool fulfill its purpose. Finishing line art is pretty rewarding, because of what’s coming next: rest. My body is not getting any younger, and sitting there, working for 6-8 hours daily does put your body to the limit. Rest feels amazing.
When you're not working in the studio, what are you up to?
I’m usually in the garden or planning my next projects. When I’m not drawing, I’m drawing layers of animation, editing videos of my latest adventures here in Zadar, or playing with my cat. I also enjoy DIY projects with my husband.
What can we look forward to from you in 2023?
I’ve been looking forward to creating a short animation project. I put everything on hold a long time ago, and I think I’ve developed skills to start (and finish) a proper short animation, just for the pleasure of doing it.
Besides that, I’ll be working on my illustration contributions for groups shows at Modern Eden, Corey Helford and wowxwow. In the meantime, I’ll figure out how to keep enjoying life and my new neural paths while learning a new language (Croatian) and being part of this community here in Zadar.
"The Removal of Masks" will be available in our shop beginning Thursday, December 29th at 1PM PST.