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State Press Magazine reporters Cameron Rubner and Nick Minker interview State Press Illustrator and ASU student Bronson Soza about his art, his influences, developing his style and defining his perfect party. 

 State Press podcast transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. The official record for State Press podcasts is the audio. 



Cameron Rubner  

Yeah. Perfect. All right. We're recording. Uh, episode two of Junk Drawer. I am Cameron, with me as always:

Nick Minker  

Nick Minker. 

Cameron Rubner  

Welcome back everyone. For today, we have a special guest illustrator, artist, everything in between 

Bronson Soza  

Bronson Soza

Cameron Rubner  

Bronson Soza. Bronson, thank you for coming Bronson, how have you been? How was your break? How was how's this semester been for you? 

Bronson Soza 

I've been good. The semester has been something. A little bit of burnout, but break was, uh, was a lot of time of sitting around and doing nothing. So. Kind of helped, but other than that, things are going really good. That makes it sound like a super negative. 

Cameron Rubner  

That's great to hear.

Nick Minker  

Well, I mean, everyone needs their leisure time. I know I didn't do much. So.

Cameron Rubner  

So Bronson, you're an, you're an artist illustrator. We want it to talk to you about your personal influences and your creative style, that culture issue. What were some of your inspirations and what was going on to your head when you drew those illustrations.

Bronson Soza  

With the culture issue, since when we were talking about what we wanted to do for it, a lot of it was. Around like a party scene, kind of with this one photo that Nick had. And we just went from there and we also wanted it to have like a scratchy quality. 

So I thought that pencil would be something good to do with that. But since I was thinking of like a party and culture, like. I wanted to have it, like kind of reflect ASU, but also just like have maybe a bunch of people who wouldn't necessarily you'd find in the same place together, but have them all come together and like being represented in this thing.

So there's like, I, a lot of it, I was just drunk. From things I was seeing or thinking about as I went, like, for example, there's this one person in the center spread where she has the same outfit and like hairstyle as Sade in this, um, video that I was playing while I was doing some of the illustrations, like just like an hour long concert compilation.

And then there's also people like references to people, but not exactly them like people who I've had classes with that I found interesting or like my cousins with the cowboy hats and all of the Ranchero stuff. Yeah. Just drawing from things that were influencing me.

Nick Minker  

Very interesting. It sounds like a great amalgamation of people, especially with like a dynamic party scene.

Definitely was very dynamic to look at throughout the issue. It was fun. And it did have that like energy of like a music video, just it had that energy. It was. 

Bronson Soza  Hm, because I just, I was thinking of it, like if all of these people who like have nothing really in common when you think about it on a surface level, I feel like just like throwing people together sometimes can be really interesting even in like social settings where it's somebody who you're like, okay.

I don't think I would ever hang out with this person. Yeah. I just randomly thought about it, but then it ends up being like an interesting interaction where it perfectly meshes with something that you wouldn't expect it to.

Cameron Rubner  

I feel that. What's your perfect party?

Bronson Soza  

My perfect party is ideally that everybody is comfortable enough to branch out.

And I don't, I don't know. I hate when I go to a party and then people just stand in the corner or don't want to do anything. And it's, it's like, uh, you don't go to a party to talk to people that you already know. I mean, you can, but you, I don't know, you should make the rounds. So I think for me, when I go to a party, my thing is I want to be slightly uncomfortable.

Not like somebody dying or something or jumping off a roof, 

Nick Minker  

No project X, no project X style, no complete and utter chaos. 

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. But I w I want to go up to random people and try making a conversation, which sometimes it's an uncomfortable and awkward, but it's, uh, I don't know. I'm masochistic in that way.

I want to be. Slightly uncomfortable. Yeah. 

Nick Minker 

So going off perfect party. What is your dream blunt rotation? 

Cameron Rubner 

Yeah, it's a dream. Let's keep it. How many people? Three or four other people for other, for other people, for other people that's dead or alive dead or alive.

Bronson Soza 

Dead or alive. Makes it even harder.

Okay, let me think. Definitely Azealia Banks.

Cameron Rubner  

And she'd be talking so much. 

Bronson Soza 

But I would let her dominate the conversation. It's going to be, I'm going to say a bunch of people and then thinking of it all together, it's going to sound awful, but, well, I mean, that's a nightmare, the nightmare, uh, the nightmare and dream Azealia.

For sure. I feel like I need to have historical figures. 

Cameron Rubner  

So if you wanted to pick their brain. 

Bronson Soza  

Yeah, yeah. Um, I'll get back to historical figures. I'll go figure, okay. HRH collection, Alex, I feel like she could, she could use, she could use some of that, but I also, yeah, I just need, I need at least two or three people to like fight each other. So her and his Azealia could probably have it. 

Cameron Rubner  

Get some entertainment in there.

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. And then also just them individually. I'm sure. They're like great to talk to. 

Cameron Rubner 

Yeah. Sorry for kind of putting you on the spot. This is a tough question. 

I need to go on a retreat for like five days and thinking about it. 

Nick Minker  

Take Ayahuasca in the desert and really, really think about it.

Bronson Soza  

Maybe Joni Mitchell, I feel like that would be really random. 

Cameron Rubner  

Joni Mitchell. Gets some Canadians. 

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. Like I don't know how she would mesh with the other two, but I feel like she would have some words of wisdom. She bring like an old soul vibe to it. Yeah. She'd bring it back.

Nick Minker  

The mediator.

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. And then the fourth one. I don't know, Karl Marx or something crazy. 

Cameron Rubner  

Oh, do you think he would smoke a sativa or indica?

Nick Minker  

He's a hybrid guy. 

Cameron Rubner  

Yeah, exactly. 

Nick Minker  

What about nightmare rotation? 

Bronson Soza  

I feel like that is a nightmare rotation.

Cameron Rubner  

I guess, I guess my nightmare rotation would just be like people I know in real life that I don't like. I just feel like bro, who invited you? And it's like, I did, I made the rotation.

Nick Minker  

I'm getting scared. There's people in my walls. 

Yeah. So within the community of artists within the Arizona community, or I mean, even you can expand it to however large you want. What do you think or how important is. Integrity of art. Like I know some people make art for money and I know it's a way of living and making a living, but when you prioritize it over the quality, or even why, like the intent behind your work, like how do you feel about, or what are, what is your idea of artists integrity?

Bronson Soza  

The first thing I think of is back to last time where we were talking about. How like art is being used to gentrify neighborhoods, but I think integrity is really important. That's like such a vague statement, like who doesn't think integrity is important, but I definitely think that artists need to be able to make a living.

And sometimes I guess that's always going to bring into question like whether what you're doing is has integrity or not, because you need to make something that's going to be able to sell. But like, with that, you, you can't just throw everything to the wind and completely only think of what's going to sell, because then it's not going to be authentic. Like it has to be able to speak to your experience, which is, I think is the most important thing, like doing art that speaks to your experience and not for somebody else's or something that you're not.

And then also just, I don't know. I feel like money can make people do a lot of things that they would have. But definitely artists deserve to be paid, but just knowing where, where your values lie and. Yeah. So going back to that thing with like how art is being used for gentrification, I feel like a lot of art that I see, especially like going on around like the downtown Phoenix area and like Roosevelt row, it feels like there's this fake thing of like people talking about, oh, like I'm beautifying my community.

And this is like, this is, this is a tribute to my community. And it's the most generic, vague- not adding anything to the narrative or conversation like mural or something. And then it's like on the side of an apart, a luxury apartment building where it's like, that's not the community. Like the half of it is empty and it's all like people from not that area, it's like driving people out, the very thing that's like driving your community out and you.

I don't know. Yeah. 

Nick Minker  

The mural in question is the NFT ape like it's a bunch of iterations of that.

Bronson Soza 

For real, or just some like random colors and like shapes. And it's not like, okay, I'm tired. I'm tired of seeing this. I don't know. I feel like every time I go to downtown Phoenix, there's a new mural and there's a new.

Uh, 20 story, apartment, condo building or something. And then everything that you did know that was there, isn't there anymore. It's like the turnover is like one year I was like, okay, something has to be there for one year and then it's gone. Yeah. And then especially with first Friday, a couple of years ago, well, more than a couple of years ago.

I'm sure. Even back then, like, I'm sure there were people who went like 10 years before that or something. And they were like, oh my God, this shit is whack. Like, this is not Roosevelt row anymore, but obviously I can only speak from where I know it from, but like 10 years ago, wait, not 10 years ago. That's a, that's a bit, much like 5 years ago or so it's like nothing the same as it is.

Like the last time I went was probably last year and there's like barely any artists, or if you do see artists. So it's like a very select five that you see always being like paraded around by arts organizations and downtown Phoenix, which, I mean, like, it's good that like, those people who are like having success in everything, but it feels like there's less opportunity for like smaller artists or anything like how there was back then.

It seemed like you would see more of that maybe. Like too critical or something. But last time I went, I felt like I went there and it was everybody selling. I dunno, some Shein Alibaba imported, like Ray-

Cameron Rubner  

not Rayon 

Bronson Soza  

like polyester. 

Nick Minker  

Don't bring Rayon into this. 

Bronson Soza  

Don't bring Rayon into this. 

Nick Minker 

I think what's interesting is I don't really know for sure.

But back then, Phoenix PD used to like really crack down on like vendor's licenses, but like, I, you know, I've heard of people just setting up tables. I think they're a little bit more. Don't at me on that one. I don't really know exactly, but that's kind of interesting. Maybe that is creating like a better opportunity for like smaller artists.

Cause I know that's like what made it kind of harder to get into is because getting a vendor's license and setting up and having the ability to get everything down there and pack it all up. 

Bronson Soza  

And it was like, I dunno, like there's just less going on down there now. That's actually arts community or anything, but maybe, maybe that's just me being a hater because every time I go to downtown Phoenix, I'm like, oh my God, where's the shit that I like that I know was here last time.

And I know that like half of the businesses are something that I would frequent, had to move somewhere else because they couldn't afford it anymore after they started building skyscrapers. But that goes into like a whole thing. That's like, not even related to like artists integrity, but just like it's been in my mind since like last week, because it was my first time going to like downtown Phoenix with.

Actually going there and looking around for like the whole year. And I was like, what the hell? Like where, where is everything? What is this?

Cameron Rubner  

Yeah. Yeah. I feel like it's already hard enough to walk around downtown Phoenix and they're like taking more and more shit away and just like leaving you with less and less because downtown Phoenix is- it's very spread out.

It's not like a typical downtown where you can walk place to place. I think the city of Phoenix has a lot of problems. And I think, you know, you talk, you talked about the turnover, like how many of those places can't even afford the rent there. So they're only there for like a year, six months and then they're gone and it's like, what now?

And then the only places that can afford to be there, like fast casual restaurants or something stupid are really established 

Bronson Soza  

or something just corny, very like 30 year old, like white person. Like Yas microbrewery, it's weaponized corn, Valerie. Like, I don't want to hear the word microbrewery. I don't want to see that ever again.

Nick Minker  

Roosevelt row is becoming like, it seems a little bit more like refined. It's becoming more and more like apple store ask. I can't explain that. I don't know. Because the architecture there, like- 

Bronson Soza  

All of the things that used to be like empty lots or something where people would set up stuff is like, oh my God, this is a very specific one.

But like there's this ugly storage container fricking apartment complex, they built completely out of storage containers.

Nick Minker  

Oh, is that near that? That's that's that is, oh, that is the Churchill.

Cameron Rubner  

It's got a bunch of like restaurant restaurants.

Bronson Soza  

I wasn't thinking of that. There is, there's like an apartment complex where, or like condos where it's completely storage containers and concrete.

It's like a tiny home 

Nick Minker  

living condo.

Bronson Soza  

And it's like tiny storage- and it looks like it's going to like fall over. But I don't, I'm just being a hater. Now every time I see like a new ugly apartment complex, I'm like, oh my God, like this needs-

Cameron Rubner  

You don't see the shipping container apartment and say, oh, the thinking outside the box.

Bronson Soza  

Okay, no, because it's like a rectangle I'm tired of seeing rectangles and lines and gray and glass. 

Cameron Rubner 

So I feel like within obviously the past year to talk about NFTs has ramped up like a billion percent. But I mean, originally when I first heard about it, it kinda sounded like away from. To make money off digital work.

Were you ever interested in that? Obviously now it's like taken on a completely different lifeform but were you ever thinking about that at all? 

Bronson Soza  

I wasn't ever interested in it just because I am not well-versed in like, like Bitcoin or cryptocurrency, blockchain, all that stuff. Which, I mean, I don't know.

I feel like if I say that, like people are going to be like, okay, yeah, well, get with the times or the, like, if I say something bad about it, that I don't like have a balanced opinion of it, but also, I don't know, I haven't done any solid research or anything into it, so I could just be like making up stuff, but I don't know.

The whole NFT stuff just seems not, ethical because of like, I don't know, first of all, I don't know. There's something about cryptocurrency that I'm just like, okay, somebody is like being murdered or something. So it's like, I don't know what is going on with that. But like, and then the environmental effect, like, I don't know how much of an effect it actually is that it should like be something that's even a concern for.

Cameron Rubner  

Oh, those farms, the farms that use billions of graphic cards. And now no one can get graphics cards cause everyone's mining crypto and NFT.

Bronson Soza  

But I, I don't know, but that also, I'm just like, it makes me not interested in it. And then also just, I feel like when it was first a thing, at least that a thing that I knew about, like there were some people who were making like interesting art and stuff, but now its like.

Okay. Everybody who was making interesting art with it is like over it now. And now it's like the fricking-

Cameron Rubner  

The Gwyneth Paltrow. Celebrities selling shit. 

Bronson Soza  

Like I'm like. At the amount of those fake DMS, the fake DMS that are like promoted, like from an account with like two people following it.

And then they're promoting like some other account that has like 60K followers. And it's like, Hey, like we're selling the monkey, zombie NFT for like 20% off-

Cameron Rubner  

The prolapsed monkey.

Bronson Soza  

And, um, Okay. First of all, who's buying these, like, if I was going to buy an NFT, I would at least-

Cameron Rubner 

Buy something crazy.

Bronson Soza  

Something interesting

Nick Minker  

Sure.You'd be proud to like own and flaunt this. 

Bronson Soza  

Like the same monkey trace over and over again, like I'm I don't know. I don't want to see it. I don't want that. I don't want that in my possession.

Nick Minker  

Yeah. And I mean, maybe art is subjective, but like at that point that's not even art anymore. 

Bronson Soza  

Like a fricking like Bitmoji or something.

Like it's literally the same thing. An avatar slightly customized. It's like an, I dunno when I see somebody with like a, an NFT profile picture, I'm immediately like, okay, I don't, I don't care what you have to say. Like I'm not listening. Yeah. You just have bad taste apparently because you couldn't find something.

There has to be something that's cheaper or at least equivalent value. That's like actually good art. 

Cameron Rubner  

Yeah. Definitely 1000000%-

Nick Minker  

A Monet, you know what I mean? Yeah. Collecting a nice, a Warhol or Monet piece, you know?

Cameron Rubner  

I mean, art, art dealing in itself, I feel like with pieces like that, it's definitely sketchy for like other reasons.

Bronson Soza  

For tax evasion tax. Nobody is actually like, oh my God, like, yes, I need this in my house, like a billion dollar piece, but like they have in cellers. Yeah. I don't know. Maybe it will be in a museum 50 years from now. And we'll see, you know.

Cameron Rubner  

Bronson, original Bronson piece sold at Chris's. For 50 million, probably. 

Bronson Soza  

Hopefully. At that point, it's not even going to you anymore though. It's like, you're dead. And like somebody bought it, you sold it for like $20 and somebody, somebody selling it also for tax evasion.

Nick Minker  

Your crypto will live on in the next life.

Cameron Rubner  

I'm getting buried in crypto.

Nick Minker  

NFT like the, uh, like business major version of like art, almost like.

Cameron Rubner  

They're like modern day beanie babies. Have you guys ever looked into the hype of beanie baby? 

Nick Minker  

Yeah. Yeah. My parents were like, definitely beanie bit. Like they're not reading the, trying to get a beanie baby out. Yeah. They, I mean, like, they didn't go hard, but they were like screw it, like, I could invest my money in this.

Cameron Rubner 

Yeah. Someone died, someone like straight up got shot, like over some beanie babies, like at the height of. Uh, at the height of the hype, I guess, which, um, that's pretty hilarious. 

Bronson Soza  

But if something happens like inevitably, like somebody got shot, like anything of, note like somebody inevitably got shot, just like, like with the whole cryptocurrency thing, I'm like, somebody is definitely like-

Cameron Rubner  

Oh, so many people.

Nick Minker  

Oh yeah, exactly. I mean, maybe it's just something about. Collecting like, you know, rarity of things. Like, I guess it's just cause like, I mean, sneakers, like everything else, like people like have it's over these things and then like there, you know, the-

Cameron Rubner  

I feel like the hype market has really turned up within the past few years and like a key strategy is to like trying to get hype on everything.

But I think it's just funny that the beanie babies, the BB- beanie baby dude, this dude was like on that first. He was like, I know how to fucking drop these. I'm only gonna put out this many and-

Nick Minker  

You've never a princess Diana purple beanie baby before.

Cameron Rubner  

They're like mind exploded. That guy was really ahead of the time because I don't know everything's hype.

Now this podcast site, this is exclusive, this. We've minted three. We put them on discs. 

And how long have you been drawing? By the way? Since you can remember right? Now in the last issue, the culture issue, it just felt like you had a very defined style.

Have you always been stylistic or is this something that you've been crafting more aware?

Bronson Soza 

I think I've always had elements that run through the entirety of my time drawing that are definitely still present. Now, I think now I'm getting a more defined style. Well, I feel like I've had a defined style for like the last couple of years or so.

I don't know. I remember when I was younger, I would just draw whatever and like, however I would interpret it. I I've never been that kind where the kind of art I'm doing. Something where I'm like, okay, it needs to specifically look like this, like abstract or the, or looking at things and drawing it exactly how you see it.

So I feel like inevitably when you're doing something, you're forced to have a style because you're, you're using your own like mental vocabulary and whatever vocabulary is coming out of your hands as you're drawing to do something. And then that's what you're building off of. But I remember like if I think things that influenced the style is definitely, I hate to say it now that I'm like 20 years old, but like when I first started taking art seriously as something more than just- okay, I'm going to draw this and that. I was like, okay, I'm going to learn how to draw. And the first thing I did was watch Mark Crilley anime drawing instruction videos, because I was as a, as a kid, I was super obsessed with anime to the point of it, where it was like, it was a little bit cringe. 

Cameron Rubner  

What's your favorite?

Bronson Soza  

My favorite was probably this one called Mushi-Shi. Where it's, uh, this guy who there's like these little tiny spirits or things that give people issues or something, and then he'd have the, but it wasn't like some kind of crazy, like he's going out and hunting a demon kind of way, but more like, I dunno, like he's the doctor or something and he's, it's very mellow.

It's like this person slowly going blind because they have this little tiny spirit parasite, like in their eye and he gives them like a sacred glass of wine or something. And it's like-

Nick Minker  that sounds really good.

Bronson Soza  

It's super good. Mushi-Shi anime definitely influenced my style and I feel like I don't have a super realistic style.

I mean, I could do a realistic if I wanted to. I'm like having to like flex that I am.

Nick Minker  

I honestly prefer like more stylized art because I don't know.I mean like personally super realist, hyper real hyper, hyper realism, like pencil drawings or like paintings. It's like-

I think most people are like, okay, this is like, what really good art is. And it is really good. You know what I mean? Like it takes a high level of skill. Like technically like, yes, that's really good. But like most people compare it to like, okay, this one looks like a photo that I could have taken. And this one kind of looks like.

Uh, cartoon, but you know, it's like we put, uh, like hyper realist art more like a, oh, this is better. Our, when I grew up, like, I kind of like had to like on learn, you know, did you have the same or?

Bronson Soza  

I was never interested in hyper realism or anything. And I don't- I sometimes I get too passionate about it for no reason.

And sometimes I'll be like a, a hater on realism just because I'm like, okay, anybody can do that. If you just sit there for like 600 hours, which is not true. Like I like mine is going to look. So I've tried doing it before for like classes and stuff. And it ends up looking a little bit stylized just because I'm like so trained for that.

But, there is a place for hyper realism, but with other styles of art I feel like you could have the most hyper-realistic thing ever, but it's not going to be as impressive as like a master work that isn't hyper realism because when you're not sticking to realism, I feel like you can capture the essence of something like a lot easier, like a person. Obviously it's not going to look a hundred percent like them, but the way that you draw them and whether it's like anatomically inaccurate or the way, whatever is happening in the photos and something that could necessarily happen in real life. It's a lot easier to like convey how a person, if you're drawing a person for a thing is same thing for a thing. You just can capture what the feeling of like that thing is. 

Nick Minker  

Yeah. And you can see the, I mean, personality of the artist shine through and stylization.

Cameron Rubner  

Yeah. That's what you like in art or certain artists is there like their trademark style typically and yeah. Personality. And that's what you want to see shine through the artwork. And that's that I think I definitely see in, in your art. 

Nick Minker  

Drawing back to the animated thing were you drawing from reference, or were you making like OC's?

Bronson Soza  

Like I was never, I'm not a story person at all. I was definitely involved in that scene though, just because I had so many friends that were also like drawing and they'd like make their characters and their OCs and stuff, but I don't know. I would never get that involved in something where it's like, okay, I'm going to have an OC. 

Cause my mind changes. My interests change every month and that's something that, that's the one thing that I feel like remains consistent for me is just that everything's going to- my interests change like every month. But yeah, so I never was into that stuff. I mostly would just draw like, Stuff that was vaguely inspired by whatever I was like consuming at the time.

But besides anime, because I feel like if I just say like, my art was just inspired by it, it was more like, it was a starting point and now it's like, I don't want to acknowledge it, but I definitely have to. Yeah. I would definitely say like video games too inspire my art, like in earlier things like, especially like Legend of Zelda and that kind of stuff, just because the art direction was always so. Like Nintendo just knows how to do some art.

Cameron Rubner  

Oh yeah. 

Nick Minker  

And then Majora's mask was scary.

Cameron Rubner  

Yeah. The actual mask or the moon. The moon was some scary.

Nick Minker 

Like, no, it's scary. Creepy pastas and Zelda. 

Bronson Soza  

Oh, I was so into the creepypastas.

Cameron Rubner  

Oh, what?

Bronson Soza  

Like, like listening. 

Cameron Rubner  

You want it to be scared? 

Bronson Soza  

Yeah, exactly. But, um-

Nick Minker  

Jeff, the killer.

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. And then from that I feel like, oh, definitely. Traveling, the little traveling that I have done has also influenced it. Just like being exposed to art and architecture and everything in different places. But right now, What's really influencing my art style. I feel like is Mexican artists like Diego Rivera.

Because I took a Mexican art history class last semester and I was like, oh my God. Obviously everybody already knows about Diego Rivera, but like, uh, Alfaro Siqueiros like. Wait, this is the most, it did something for me. And then literally as I went to Mexico city, um, over winter break, and then I got to see it all in person.

And like, you don't expect it to be as big as it is in person. And you just, you're standing in front of like this huge mural and you can see like all of the little tiny things that went into it, the stroke and everything. Cause when you're working on such a big scale, you can really see. The artist's hand in it, like where they did this stroke and how like they were pressing into it and everything.

And just, I don't know, it was like a, it was a come to Jesus moment. Like, it was like a surreal, like I was standing, I went to this museum and I didn't even know his murals were going to be there, but I was standing in front of them and they were like, what, what is my, height, whatever, five times three is 15, like 15 feet tall.

Cameron Rubner  

You're not just five feet tall though. 

Bronson Soza  

I'm not, I'm not. I'm describing this so I rounded down. I didn't want to say six because it would seem like I'm lying and I'm trying to be generous,

Cameron Rubner  

It’s true, it's better to be humble. 

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. And so. And I'm just like, wow. It was, it was a spiritual moment for me. And now I feel like that style and like the force that there is.

And that's another thing where it's like the style, even though it's not realistic at all, like he really captures the essence. And like movement and everything. I feel like that's really influencing my art right now, especially like content. Well, the content is not like a little bit, but something about it is doing something for me right now.

And I, and I definitely am seeing how it's like influencing my art. Like subconsciously I'm not like, oh yeah, I'm going to, I'm going to change my art style to like, be a little bit more like this. When something is so like inspirational to you, like it ends up like inspiring you subconsciously

Cameron Rubner  

I kind of wanted to gauge your thoughts. Do you feel like you're tapped in with the, with the ASU art community or the Phoenix art community in general, or, you know, are you, are you in touch with, with any art communities? Do you kind of just like to work by yourself? 

Bronson Soza  

feel like. I'm uh, a decent amount involved with the ASU art community.

Like I feel, I feel like a lot of it is also because of Instagram. So I don't know how legit that is if that's like actually like you're involved. Cause I feel like social media is a lot different from like actually like doing things in person because you don't actually know somebody. 

But over the pandemic, I was following a bunch of people in the ASU art community and sometimes I would follow people and then I wouldn't even know that they were at ASU and then in a studio class and then I'd see them. I'm like, wait, you go here. I'm like, Hey we follow each other on Instagram!

I'm definitely within some sort of circle, like within the ASU community of like artists that I like learning from. And then while we like learn from each other, cause it's like, even though we're, some of us are like more experienced than other things.

Like everybody has something that they can offer to somebody. When I say that, that sounds bad. Like networking, like what do you, what do you have to offer me? You become friends and then like, maybe you're working on something that's not your expertise. And then obviously it's like, great. When like a friend helps you out with something, because I feel like that's, that's one thing about like important about our community is exchanging with people it's not necessarily like in a shallow sense.

I mean, I definitely can be depending on like who you're associating yourself. I think it's important for artists to learn from each other and not be. Okay. I know everything. I'm just doing my own thing because like the amount of things that I feel like my art has improved from a lot of it is like from other artists who are willing to help you or show you something that that's their expertise that you're not necessarily well-versed in. 

But I think I would definitely like to be more involved in the ASU, like art community, just because of like the feeling that I get from ASU art community is really good. Like, I don't feel like there's this whole- since it's a university setting there's not going to be somebody who's making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and it's like, okay, fuck all these people, like I'm better than you or something. It feels, it feels homey. It does feel homey. And there's like, I don't know. Everybody just gives me a good vibe that I've been able to interact with.

And I think since we're all learning, like, especially like everybody's always learning all the time, even if you're not in school, but like, since we're all learning and it's like, you're in a more vulnerable place because. You don't necessarily have like a set career for yourself yet. And everybody just is interested to learn more and like want to work together .I think that that's a good thing about the ASU like art community. 

With the Phoenix art community. I definitely am not super involved with it. I feel like as much as I could be, obviously. the ASU students that I know that- they're like doing things in Phoenix. What you do in ASU isn't just in ASU. So like, by that, like, of course, like I am involved in that sense.

And I know some artists who like- going back to the Phoenix, but when I hear like Phoenix art scene, the first thing I think about is three major like arts organizations or whatever. Maybe I'm going to get my self blacklisted or something. I don't know. Sometimes I don't get a good vibe from it. 

And it's definitely because there's a lot of it is very money driven since of course it's like an organization. I'm sure that the Phoenix art community, there's definitely people who are in a community that that is not the thing. Cause it's like, okay, like artists, isn't only where the like, money is. There's always like, whatever.

That's just, what's most obvious to see because that's, what's going to have the biggest platform. And I don't know, I feel like it all ties back into the whole like gentrification thing. And like, it's like, obviously like the arts, arts organizations do some good things, but I also feel like they can do some things that are not necessarily helpful.

It's also just like hard for me to get into that in general, because a lot of it is like you have to pay fees to be able to get into stuff. Sometimes when you're an artist, it feels like you need to be able to like, do those things. And I'm sure there's people who are better at like getting around the art scene than me, but it seems like I definitely need to get more into it and more into like the side of it that I'm actually interested in and want to like be involved in.

But in regards to that, I just know like what I, what I don't necessarily want. For myself, because some of it just seems-

Cameron Rubner  

Not very inviting. 

Nick Minker 

A little exclusive 

Bronson Soza  

Yeah not very inviting. Yeah. That's exactly what it is, you feel not invited because you see like the kind of people it is where it's like, I dunno, maybe I'm just being a hater or something, but.

It feels like us. You have to be a certain age, which is like, you have to be like 20, like upper twenties, like thirties. Cause you don't see old people. You don't see a lot of old people involved with that. You don't see a lot of young people involved with it. And then just with like the fees and stuff too, like of course that's like limiting like people to like people of a certain income or.

Nick Minker 

So on the aspect of networking, I think also what ties into growing as an artist is cultivating your online presence. Like I think that's a huge aspect. It has been for awhile. How are you on that aspect? I saw that I did a little deep dive on your Tik tok, we do our research, 

Bronson Soza  

No, so cringey

Nick Minker  

And you blew up pretty, pretty cool.

Bronson Soza  

Once. Twice twice, three times maybe.

Nick Minker  

 Twice twice, three times maybe. And what was the, it was, uh papeir-mache

Bronson Soza  

Onions. Onions and shallots. 

Nick Minker  

It was very cool. I honestly took some notes. So I'm thinking about doing it myself. And having a presence in social media as an artist is, you know, showcasing your own personality and not just your art.

How do you think that you are either perceived or how are you trying to be perceived on the internet like that? I mean, that sounds, that's a huge question. So feel free to answer how you, like.

Bronson Soza  

I feel like my Instagram, because when I think of social media, the first thing I would think of is Instagram. Because like, it's like I have a Twitter that I sometimes use.

Nick Minker  

That is for very special people. That is journaling.

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. It's journaling, journaling. I mean, it's not even journaling. It's like, not even anything of substance, it's just like, okay. And let me say some stupid shit. 

Cameron Rubner  

Put it onto paper.

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. But with Tik Tok I feel like when I was first on it, I was like, okay, I know what I'm going to do. I made an account. I was like, this is only going to be art and I'm going to be consistent and I'm going to be a little content creator. And then I did, I feel like the two Tik Toks that did blow up, I was like, I don't know why this is gonna sound so weird, but like I knew that they were going because, I started to, after being on TikTok, like just observing it for like a year and never participating in it, like, yeah. So I was like, let me just like, make it an amalgamation of everything that I have learned over the years from observing and then think of a way to throw my art into it.

And I feel like, I feel like sculpture is an easier way to do it because it's something that you can interact with in space. Like what are you going to do? Like dance around with like a flat painting. Yeah. And then it blew it up and I love attention. So obviously I was living for it. I was reading every single comment.

Then it happened again. Yeah. 

Nick Minker  

Any hate comments? I wouldn't expect there to be. It's a very happy go lucky kind of cute. Larger than life green onion. 

Um, I wouldn't imagine there would be, but there, there any kind of like, this onion fucking sucks. It doesn't look real at all that good.

Cameron Rubner  

They're not even that good.

Nick Minker  

They're not even that big. Like why would 

you make something like that.

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. So absurd

I don't think there was any hate comments, but there was like one comment where somebody just said something that like rubbed me the wrong way. I just remember I let her, I like. I was texting everybody like, oh my God, like, this is my first, hate  comment. They're like, literally shut up. Like, that's not a hate comment. Like you're so dramatic, like whatever. 

I want to have haters. I want to have at least like three haters. Like I don't want a bunch of haters, but I want at least- I love the discourse. Like I wanna, I want to at least like have one hater that like the, I think the worst comment I received that actually that actually somewhat hurt my feelings.

This guy, for some reason, I always to people, I look like somebody that they already know or something, and the worst, 

Nick Minker  

I know exactly which one you're talking about. The Drew Phillips-

Bronson Soza  

No, no, no, no, not that one. Not that one. I think I look like I'm a little bit more when I had that haircut and like my glasses. 

Cameron Rubner  

Did you have no mustache?

Bronson Soza  

I had a mustache. Um, but there was no- the one that offended me was, you know, that guy who's like the manager of the like Chipmunks and like the Chipmunks. 

Cameron Rubner  

David Cross.

Nick Minker  

No, no, no. Oh wait. Oh yeah. I thought it was Jason Lee.   

Cameron Rubner

No, no, no. Jason, Lee's the good guy. 

Bronson Soza  

The guy with the glasses and everything, and I was like, I like that guy is probably at least twice my age. Yeah. And that movie? Yeah. I was like, that's the only association with.

I don't want it at all. I really do not see it. I don't know where, like at this point, like, you're just trying to, if that was a stretch, 

Cameron Rubner  

If you have hair and someone compares you to someone that's bald. You just gotta kind of be like, that's a dig. That's not all the essence. 

Bronson Soza  

I guess it's something. It's something like my essence. It's like, I get that.

So Tik Tok after that, I just, I can't remain consistent with. Anything that's posting. I feel like, yeah. Especially with how school is for me. I'm an art major, but I feel like I take barely any art classes, like, like I'm only have two more art classes, less that I need to take, but I still have a year of school left and it's going to be all like boring.

Cameron Rubner  

Do you have a minor?

Bronson Soza 

Uh, I have a minor in Chinese. Um, but I've, I don't know. So it's like, it's not like I have a bunch of time to create art in school. And then when I get out of school, I don't have time to make that much are to the point where I could be posting like every, every day for Tik Tok.

And I'm like, and that's the thing. I feel like Tik Tok- like once you get something, you have to keep up with it. And then I'm like, I can't keep up with this and this the same thing with Instagram too. Cause it's like, when you post more often, like you get more traffic, but that's everything in general, just algorithms.

So I feel like my Instagram is slowly growing very slowly. And then every time I get a follow right, there was a follower. . Well, that's where I got this point. Like the followers are fake, 

Nick Minker  

that's one Russian sex bot. That's leaving her NFT account. That's like, oh, I gotta go. Invite in, tap in.

Bronson Soza  

Yeah. With Instagram, I feel like it can be good for art and also bad for our, because it's like a. It's the whole thing with integrity again, because then you can be, you can be an artist and you can just be great creating stuff just because you're like, okay, this is what's going to get attention. Which, I mean, I definitely, when I was like younger, like I was guilty of that.

Like I would, I am not somebody who does fan art or anything, but I would slightly enjoy one thing. I'm like, okay, let me see if I can milk the fan base. And it would never work, never work, but. There's that. And then also I feel like Instagram just gives artists the impression that they're supposed to be like creating something 24-7 and having something finished every like two days or something, which is, and like never happens

I feel like one thing that I've definitely that I could get into is talking about how, whether or not you separate yourself from your art, like how close you tie yourself to your art? 

Because I've always had two accounts. There's like my personal account, which, I mean, it's not like it's like a private account.

It's not like it's a spam account or something. It's just like where I post Bronson things. And then there's the art account where it's only art @bronsonart. Yeah. And there's been times where. There was like half a year where I was posting all of the Bronson things on the art account too, just to try it.

And it felt weird, but at the same time, like, I feel like there was, there was a little bit more engagement just because it's like, okay, like people can see you as like a person. And then also you make art sometimes. But that's the thing I was worrying about because then I was getting a little bit too comfortable because it's like, uh, like I feel like when I'm on social media, it's a very.

I think my social media for the most part is like a true, a realistic representation of me, except maybe I can be a little bit more outgoing in, uh, saying stupid stuff on social media. I feel like everyone is sort of yeah. I'm like, I'm like, okay, now that it's permanent. 

Nick Minker  

Um, yeah, because of my words actually written in stone now.

Bronson Soza  

Is the time to say something to me, reposts, like some Instagram, like meme that's like slightly questionable for real.

Nick Minker  

I like that's anytime I post something on my story, it was just like, It, whether it be like a repost. Are you ever like, dang, I'm just like, I forget that my family follows me and like really like distant cousins think, that I never see.

Bronson Soza  

Or like the worst it's like when you have like, uh, like teachers following, you know, ah, within like art, like the artists, I feel like it's pretty normal for like, you don't like follow your instructors after you're done taking their class.

Cameron Rubner  

Then they talk shit about you. That like dude's art sucks.

Bronson Soza  

I'm definitely like a different person than I would say. I am like every other time. A little more shy. And then on Instagram it's like reposting, like some meme and it's like, girl, what the hell is this? I feel like when I did have my personal account on my art account where it's like, after a while, I was like, okay, this is not what I want, because I feel like it's important as an artist to like have, especially when it's money, something you want to pursue as a career, you definitely like want to have, are like be something that's part of your life and not have it completely separate from you, because then I feel like it's hard to be an artist in quotation marks. If you don't like make art, like part of your being or whatever, but also like you need to be able to separate yourself from it. Yeah. So that's what I ended up on doing that.

And I was like, okay, I'm gonna have my personal account and my art account.  Because social media, I feel like it definitely can influence your mindset because I wasn't, when I was doing that as like, okay, like, this is all like a life shift and it's literally, you just like use one accounts or two accounts and I'm like, wow, my whole life is going to change.

And it obviously wasn't that dramatic, but it's like, I definitely feel like I was- it helped my output a little bit. It made me think of like my daily life in a more artistic way so that I could justify posting it, but it was too much. It was too much, but yeah, I feel like social media, it, it, it has its pros and cons and I tend to be a glass half empty person.

So I definitely feel. And my personal opinion, like social media has a lot of cons for art. 

Nick Minker  

Yeah. Social media definitely has like a grip on, at least like with my feed, it's like almost an echo chamber of just like the same recycled things. And like, some of these things are like not healthy to be thinking, you know, like, why, like, why am I getting like, I'm getting way too much, Patrick Bateman, like.

Cameron Rubner  

Too much Taxi driver? 

Nick Minker 

Dude literally it's just like

Cameron Rubner  

Sigma mindset.

Nick Minker  

Seriously, It's like, this is not normal. We used to be hunters and gatherers. 

Cameron Rubner  

And now, now we make TikToks. It's it's unreal. 

Okay. Any, any last, any last thoughts? Closing thoughts. No ? 

Nick Minker 

Bronson, thank you for coming on. It was a pleasure talking to you. Sorry. We had to redo this again, but I think great. This conversation. Yeah.

Cameron Rubner  Nick Minker with me. Shout out Bronson Soza again. Thank you so much for coming through. You want to plug socials? 

Bronson Soza  

@bronsonart on Instagram, B R O N S O N A R T. And that's that's about it. I need to branch out on my social media. 

Cameron Rubner 

I feel that. I'm @fathercrub.

Nick Minker 

@nickminkerfanpage This is junk drawer, a state press magazine podcast. Thank you for listening. We are to turn the studio into the dream blunt  rotation. Thank you. 



Listen to the podcast on Spotify.

Reach the reporter at nminker@asu.edu and crubner@asu.edu  follow @Fathercrub and @NickMinkerfanpage on Instagram

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Junk Drawer: Choosing between integrity, money or TikTok fame in the art world

State Press Magazine reporters Cameron Rubner and Nick Minker interview State Press Illustrator and ASU student Bronson Soza about his art, social media fame and the conflict between integrity and money in the art scene.

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