Meet Skylar Hughes. You may have seen him in an art gallery, walking on the streets of Silverlake, or with a pen and notepad taking your order at Sotto. Many people like working in restaurants because they meet interesting people— many of whom are working to support their dream. Skylar is one of them, and he has brought this dream into Sotto as the creator and curator of the restaurant’s art. Traditionally a painter, Skylar had the idea to experiment with collage as he played around with the idea of layers, the old and the new, and the middle ground between representation and abstraction.
“Collage works well for this project because it draws on different images and inspirations to make something new. Chef Steve has done a great job of translating traditional dishes of the region and bringing them into a contemporary environment. Sotto is an invitation into that great line of tradition— these collages are meant to do the same.”
The backgrounds to these collages are paintings by notable Italian artists including Pontormo and Giotto that Skylar actually had the opportunity to see while studying painting and art history in Italy
“I don‘t expect people to be able to identify these images, most won‘t. They are just meant to be accessible and striking images that ground the work in a historical context, a nod to the past to show that we know where we come from and that we are moving things on down the line. That idea speaks to the cuisine, wine, and cocktail programs at Sotto, which celebrates Southern Italy through honest expression.”
"The actual collage elements come from many sources: books, magazines, packing materials, etc.— all found in second hand shops and flea markets. I draw and paint directly onto the materials and then flip them over so that the impression of the ink that has bled through is face up, therefore showing the “below“ or “beneath“ side of the image— the “Sotto” side (in Italian). This technique was discovered as a kind of happy accident in the studio when I dropped one of the drawn pieces and it landed upside down.”
"Sotto is very much a family. We work, eat, and spend a lot of time together. Everyone has a role based on their strength and has been given the opportunity to cultivate those talents. This is mine."