Immediately after graduation from the Tartu State Art Institute, Sooster was imprisoned from 1949 to 1955 in a labor camp in the Karaganda region for his “anti-Soviet” attitude. At the beginning of Khrushchev’s Thaw, he was released. Sooster settled in Moscow, where he impressed other artists with his Western artistic education and knowledge of European culture from his native Estonia.
Trees, particularly juniper, recur in Sooster’s work. They recall his youth on the Estonian island of Hiiumaa, which is covered with junipers. In the Mead’s drawing, the splotchy application of ink dots seems to arrange itself into the shape of trees. The artist based this non-realistic approach on Surrealism, an intellectual movement that generated art on the basis of chance and the unconscious, elevating it beyond reason and logic. In this way, he grasped the spirit of the postwar decades when many artists (such as the action painters) explored Surrealist ideas.