Picasso & Hot Rods: An Interview with Lewis deSoto

What do Picasso and Hot Rods have in common?  Read this short interview with artist Lewis deSoto and find out.

Susan: Describe your first art related memory
Lewis deSoto: Staring at Picasso’s “Man with a Blue Guitar” in the World Book Encyclopedia.  I would visit the entry for PAINTING many times and look a the color plates.  I would look up each artist in the PAINTING entry to learn more.  I was about 8 years old.  I didn’t make a “painting” for another ten years.  On a parallel course, I also stared at Ed Roth‘s hot rods and monster drawings with equal respect.  I did try to emulate Mr. Roth’s work as soon as I could, later discovering R. Crumb and Zap Comix.

La Cena Pasada (The Last Supper), 2002

La Cena Pasada (The Last Supper), 2002, 13 1/24 scale automobiles, vitrine and table. This work is based on Leonardo Da Vinci's 15th Century fresco depicting The Last Supper.

S: How does your first memory of art relate to what you do today?
Ld: I think I tend to mix classical and the profane into one.  Buddhism has often warned about the artificial nature of dualities.  I naturally tended to mix high and low, whatever that meant, together.

Paranirvana (self portrait), 1999-2003, painted cloth, electric air fan

Paranirvana (self portrait), 1999-2003, painted cloth, electric air fan (Note: this work is not exhibiting in BEFORE AFTER)

S: What currently inspires you?
Ld: The nuclear defense industry of the 1950’s and 1960’s. My father worked for the Defense Department. The idea that in that sphere of work you had to be perfect, you could not afford to make a mistake.  Also whatever you said about it was at best, cicumspect.  The abstract idea of it is overwhelming.

I think my work is humorous, but it doesn’t necessarily feel that way.  I think about the past, about a way of embodying a past experience into a parallel experience that feels completely separate in a new way.

Recumbent (Entropy), 1999, Steel and electronics