Artist Spotlight: Triumphant Years of Inspirational Local Artist Cristo Soto

(Caloosa Belle/Danika J. Hopper) Cristo’s artwork is wild and colorful while simultaneously peaceful and beautiful.

He is often seen walking or riding his bike around town, or sitting under one of the big oaks while he sketches up his newest inspirations for paintings, with his signature beret atop his long, dark, wavy hair. A local artist, Cristo Jesus Soto Ledezma, and his creative visions seek to find a vision of grace.

“I was born in a small town called San Carlos in Tamaulipas Mexico. It is about four miles from the village where I lived the first five years of my life. Although we lived in poverty, we had freedom to explore the land. It was a happy time,” says Cristo.

He has always been drawn to art, and is especially inspired by both the natural environment and technology. At age 22, he had a nervous breakdown where he recalls is when his schizophrenia was diagnosed, “I kept working one month after I got sick. I got wild notions of technology and human nature,” he recalls. A year later he was prescribed medicine that helped him recover.

Relocating to LaBelle in 2005, moving in with his sister and her family. “I came to get away from Texas and to find work. Florida is much more peaceful than Texas.” He found work picking vegetables in the nearly unbearable heat and humidity that South Florida is famous for, eventually finding work at USave. “Those were some triumphant years. They were the best I’d ever had,” he says about his first years living in LaBelle.

A typical day, for this unique and innovative artist, starts with an early morning cup of tea and a walk or bike ride through our beloved town, where he contemplates the natural beauty around him and how technology changes the world. He returns to paint, creating a juxtaposition of wild and colorful while simultaneously peaceful and beautiful pieces that ignite deep thoughts of those who are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of his art.

If you would like to learn more about this fantastic artist, and see some of his original works of art, Cristo Jesus Soto Ledezma will be the featured artist at the Barron Park House Gallery during September, when it re-opens for the season. Starting September 5, the Gallery and Gift Shop will be open Thursday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and is located at 471 N. Lee Street, across from the tennis courts and the American flag mural in Barron Park.

The Gallery would also like to invite all local artists and photographers to become members of Arts of the Inland, and bring their art for exhibition for the annual re-opening and beginning of season, on August 27, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. please feel free to email artsinland@gmail.com for more information or any questions regarding Arts of the Inland and Barron Park House Gallery.

Danika can be reached at dhopper@newszap.com

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