Johnathon DeSoto has been chosen as the city of Eureka’s 2018 “Artist of the Year.”
DeSoto is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work is concerned with the personal, social and political dynamics of the world. He is a Humboldt County native, with no formal art education and is a member of Cooperation Humboldt, Humboldt Artist Guild and Societies for Poetic Action.
DeSoto’s work is focused on the interplay of what it means to be a person with privilege, joy and abundance and what responsibilities one has to act and collectivize in order to expand access to ways of thriving.
“Artists are not just a fundamental ingredient of society. Artists are cultural leaders,” he said.
Each month, the city of Eureka Arts and Culture Commission selects an “Artist of the Month.” In order to be nominated as an Artist of the Month, an artist must either be nominated by a member of the community via an official “Artist of the Month Nomination Form,” complete a utility art box, participate in the Eureka Street Art Festival or be nominated by the Arts and Culture Commission.
The commission started the program in June 2018, and the artists chosen for 2018 include Phyllis Barba, Duane Flatmo, John King, Ananda Oliveri, Samantha Moore, Jack Sewell and DeSoto, who completed two utility art boxes, participated in the Eureka Street Art Festival and was nominated by Art and Culture commissioner Linda Wise. DeSoto also participated in the People’s Mapping Project, a collaborative art installation that showed at the Black Faun Gallery, and had a solo art show called “Underthrow Rainbow” in Arcata. In addition, he volunteered to paint a neglected public bench and has reached out to the city to paint city-owned basketball courts.
The “Artist of the Year” is chosen from the year’s Artists of the Month. Eureka Mayor Susan Seaman chose DeSoto because his art is tied to community, according to a city press release.