Two years after he graduated, Jonathan Herrera Soto created a new rendition of his senior project at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
In Between / Underneath (Entremedio / Por Debajo) features the faces of 200 murdered Mexican journalists, printed in mud on the floor, ensuring that every visitor interacts with the piece. “Simply by walking and interacting with the faces they slowly wear away under our shoes and we carry them away with us.”
Jonathan Herrera Soto knows his public artwork is successful when he can no longer tell what is his and what is the viewer’s: “It dissolves into this collaborative, organic thing that’s autonomous. It belongs to the people in a way.”
This sentiment stems from his time at MCAD. Herrera Soto enjoyed the freedom to explore drawing and painting, illustration and comic art before choosing print paper book as his major.
He also minored in art history, creative writing and teaching artist.
“I felt they all fed into my process in their own unique special way,” he says. “Art history provided tools for researching and building a historic framework in my practice. Creative writing gave me tools for having curiosity and playing with words. Teaching feeds and fuels my practice in a way other things don’t.”
Craving a space to openly discuss political and social issues while at school, Herrera Soto teamed up with classmates to create the People’s Library, a reading-turned-action student collective.
Collaborative projects with the group allowed him and his peers to engage with the public — something he felt was missing in his studio practice.
“The People’s Library [provided a platform to] influence the community in a way my studio practice wasn’t doing, but also my studio practice allowed me to articulate ideas and [complicate] them,” he said.
Herrera Soto will only continue complicating ideas, as a current Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, and with a forthcoming Kala Fellowship Award and Santa Fe Art Institute International Thematic Residency.