• 8.16.13

    Introducing Stormcloudz, Jeff Soto's Apparel Site

    Jeff Soto's imagined characters can now inhabit your T-shirt drawer. Last week, the illustrator (with the help of his brother Tim) launched Stormcloudz.com, an e-commerce site for his prints, posters, books, and zines, as well as a new clothing line.

    "I've always taken a populist approach to art, maybe because of my graffiti background," Soto explained. "I see that a lot of people who enjoy my work can't afford to buy an expensive print, so it felt natural to bring it into an entirely different medium, which is apparel." Seven designs, priced from $20 to $25, are currently for sale on Stormcloudz and Soto plans to release another style each month. "So far, the response has been really good," he noted. "Of the shirts that we have, some of the sizes are sold out." He is also working with Hybrid Apparel to place the clothes in other stores.

    Five percent of Stormcloudz's sales will be contributed to the art community. "I grew up with not a lot," Soto remarked. "My parents were very supportive of me as an artist, but as far as getting art supplies, it was hard. [Stormcloudz] is going to start local, maybe by donating some money to the Riverside Art Museum here, in Southern California. We're also going to look into funding some of the high schools nearby because the budgets for art programs are pretty small. Maybe we'll run some free programs at our shop."

    He hopes to eventually expand Stormcloudz's offerings to include other artists' output: "We don't want it to be a brand that's tied to me; we want it to be more of a lifestyle brand that's art-based, and caters to kids who are creative ... who want to do or wear something different."

    But, for now, Soto is still ironing out the kinks. "We didn't think to have a return policy," he noted, adding, "I kind of didn't know what I was getting into when I signed up for this. In the illustration world, you're hired for a project, you do it, and you get paid. This is different – I might do twenty designs and we pick none, or we pick one or two, or we pick ten. I'm trying to embrace it."

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