Trent Dion Soto's art has provided him a prosperous life. After graduating from Ruston High School, he learned quickly that he had a lucrative talent when the demand for his artwork grew among people like rock-and-roll superstars and even television networks.
Trent Dion Soto's art has provided him a prosperous life. After graduating from Ruston High School, he learned quickly that he had a lucrative talent when the demand for his artwork grew among people like rock-and-roll superstars and even television networks. When Teresa Soto, the assistant activity director at Liberty Healthcare, found out her brother was traveling to all 50 states and donating his time and talent to children in hospitals, she knew she had to visit Bastrop. Teresa said she became aware of her brother's talent when they were children. She knew he had a gift, but she didn't think an art career would take him very far. “Did I think he would go as far as he's gone? No,” she said. “He definitely has a gift.” Trent had the freedom to travel the world and go wherever his talent took him. He went to the places he knew would have work, but he never instigated his employment. “I've never filled out an application for a job,” Trent said. “People contacted me for my work.” Trent said the day he graduated high school, he asked his father for advice about his future. Both his father [George Ruiz Soto Jr.] and grandfather [George Ruiz Soto Sr.] had been firefighters. “I was raised by heroes,” he said. Trent said a few moments after he graduated, he stood on the football field with his father asked how he felt about him following in their footsteps. His father answered his question with a question. “Do you think you can handle going into a burning building and seeing death?” his father asked. “I immediately changed my mind about firefighting and decided I should take another route.” Trent soon moved to California where he dabbled in acting and freelance painting. Even though his only formal art education was advanced art classes in high school, he had a gift. He soon met connections who helped him get even more job opportunities. “I've painted the sets for MTV shows in places like Panama Beach,” he said. “I've painted the sets for bands like Stone Temple Pilots and my artwork traveled with Aerosmith in '97 during their Nine Lives Tour.” Trent worked with the “Truman Show” in 1996 in the prop department and also as an extra in the movie. He worked with professional boxer and 1988 Olympic winner Roy Jones Jr. “I was his personal assistant for two and a half years,” Trent said. “I built him a large throne, which he loved. I also did the artwork for his album cover, under his record label Body Head Entertainment.” Among the list of famous names Trent has met during his lifetime, he said he was blessed to have met four U.S. presidents, shaking the hands of two. As his popularity grew, so did the price of his artwork. “The price is different depending on the part of the world you're in,” he said. “I can get $7,000 in New York for some of my larger pieces.” Even though Trent lives a life that most people might dream of, he now feels he needs to focus his talent in a different direction. “I think my gifts have been given to me for a greater purpose,” he said. Trent began using his art to help others. He's used the proceeds from his paintings to fund art scholarships and even placed one of his pieces on Facebook to raise money for a friend who needed a kidney. He recently began a National Community Art Tour called “Livin' On Love.” The purpose of the tour is to show the world the importance of art therapy. The tour will take him to all 50 states, visiting children's hospitals, retirement facilities, special needs centers, wounded warriors and schools. “I truly call this a ministry,” he said. “I'm showing others that art is a piece of mind, an escape. I've seen that art therapy can help post-traumatic vets and autistic children.” Trent said the monitory rewards don't compare to what he receives when he helps others. “I've made a lot of money with my art throughout the years, but sharing my artwork with others is priceless,” he said. For more information on Trent's “Livin On Love” tour follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/PEACETHRUARTWITHTRENT or Youtube at youtube.com/user/TheTrentdionsoto.