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20 Questions with SOUTHER SALAZAR

Juxtapoz // Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Souther Salazar (Juxtapoz #89) recently opened his latest solo, Last Year's Man, at NYC's Jonathan Levine Gallery. His whimsical paintings, drawings and sculpture installation were accompanied by a stop-motion animated film featuring stills of his work as part of the show. The effect is so awesome that we just had to throw a few questions his way. His answers are more than delightful, they are utterly inspiring. Get to know Souther Salazar in our 20 Questions with him below...


What's the first thing you did when you woke up this morning?

Watched a pretty girl do yoga stretches by the side of my bed. It's 9 am and she just left and now I’m sitting down to answer these questions and feeling happily distracted.

Something about yourself the average person wouldn't guess?

I like to listen to Power 106, where hip hop lives.


If you had one day left on Earth, what’s left to be discovered?

How many of my friends can fit in a raft and where the river ends.

What is your first art-making memory as a kid?


Lying on a green shag carpet, drawing with one of those huge novelty pens.


Do you need long periods of time alone, or are you energized by interaction?

Long periods of hermit time followed by random bursts of uncaged tiger energy. I disappear and go work in my cave for a month and nobody sees me until I bust out like the Kool Aid man and go on a rampage.


Is being in the dark with the lights out frightening or comforting?


With good headphones, it's comforting.


What's the most non-art involved activity you continually find yourself enjoying?

Meditation and exercise.

Have you been to jail? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yeah. I was drunk and moved an orange cone in front of a cop and then gave him attitude when he got mad about it. Next thing I knew, I was cuffed and thrown in jail. No breathalyzer, no reading of my rights, nothing. While I was in there, guys were talking about what they guy said he had rape charges, another guy said he beat his wife, another guy was pissing his pants, another guy was dealing drugs...then somebody turned to me and was like, hey quiet guy, why are you in here? And I was like...uh, I moved a cone. It was like when Johnny Cash was arrested for picking flowers.


What kind of car do you drive?

I waaaant to say 72 Gran Torino or Ranchero with a Cobrajet. But the truth is a Hybrid, 08 Prius.


What's your biggest non-green inspired indulgence?

It's like you already knew what the answer to the last question would be. Well I paint with plastics and I ship stuff with lots of bubble wrap and sometimes I wear python cowboy boots.


What is the single most important thing you did to breakthrough as a career artist?


Strangely enough, it was the things I did for myself, with no real payoff in mind. Putting tons of energy into things that would never make money, like zines, comics, sketchbooks, and crazy installations and collaborations with friends. Meanwhile all the stuff I was told to do, enter competitions, be in lots of group shows, make promo cards, etc…all a total waste of time.

Best hustle you ever pulled?

Johnny Cash played at the rodeo in the small town where I grew up. My friend and I were broke, so we slid under the barbed wire and snuck into the show, and when we left we stole a mop from in front of his trailer as a souvenir and made a gutbucket bass out of it. I guess that's not really a hustle....maybe we can pretend I later sold the mop for $100.


Are you ever bored?

Hell no. 


What excites you?

Spring when everything blossoms, good coffee, good scotch, music with lots of drum rolls, things that are about to fall apart but never do, mistakes that lead to breakthroughs, being joyfully idle, spotting raccoons, possums, skunks, or coyotes at night, swimming holes and cliff jumping, good food with good friends, snowboarding off into the trees, sad songs with good lyrics, spontaneous adventures, meeting new people, wandering the earth, the mystery of not knowing where the night is headed, the hum of electricity in the air.

2023 will look like . . . ?

Flying hot dogs and cell phones with built in pencil sharpeners. And glow in the dark everything.


If you could have a drink with one artist, living or dead, who would it be?

Alexander Calder.


Last passport stamp:

Paris, in February.


Can’t stand:

People who keep secrets.


Can’t live without:


It's top secret. 


Words to live by:

"Chance favors the prepared mind" -Louis Pasteur



Last Year's Man opens May 16th, 2009 and will remain on view through June 13th, 2009.
More info at

More on Souther Salazar at

Portrait photograph by Moni Pineda; all artwork images courtesy of Jonathan Levine Gallery.




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