Month: October 2021

Steve Solop


Local weekly paper covering regional news and events gets an interview with artist Steve Solop. by Tara Collins AKA Twisted T

Steve Solop - King Neptune
Steve Solop - Cocktails
Steve Solop - Sammy

Art can sometimes get very serious, controversial, complicated and deep. Other times, it is just pure and simple fun! That brings me to the art of Highlands artist, Steve Solop. Steve has had an impressive career in the fashion business and after a life-changing medical emergency, combined with quarantine and a global pandemic, he started making quick, whimsical drawings on his phone that he started posting daily. I first saw one of his digi-drawings in an art show that I had my work in also at the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council. His “Poochie Poochie Poo” was so damn cute! After the virtual opening, I looked him up on Instagram and loved his pictures! Seeing them on my feed each morning was (and still is) a pure visual treat!

Tell me about your art background?

I don’t have any schooling or course study in the arts. I have a design background. In high school when everyone wanted to play like Hendrix, I wanted to dress like him, once I got this thought into my head, I couldn’t let it go. I asked the sewing arts teacher to help me make a shirt. It was a great success! That summer I made 13 shirts. I then pitched to the Principal what a great idea it would be to let me take the sewing class. My wish was granted and this amazing un-square life of mine commenced! The word got out and The New York Times published an article referencing my shirt-making which caught the eye of a private design school Headmaster, Joe Cybick. He sent me information about the school and I enrolled after graduating college (I attended FIT and Villanova as well).

Located in Gramercy Park, it was few blocks away from my favorite NYC hang, Max’s Kansas City. I ate a late lunch there every day, sometimes lunch would last into the evening. Max’s was the home of all the moving stars, hangers-on and wannabe’s. It was a comfortable hang, a visual and audio smorgasbord. Max’s was the Algonquin Round Table of our generation. This was 1978, a pivotal year, a cultural and generational turning point.

Eventually, I went to work at Brooks Brothers where I managed the shirt factory, I was then recruited by Perry Ellis. Perry was a petri dish of creativity and fastidious intellect, the best of the best – Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, the amazing illustrator, Richard Haines.

What brought you to create the art that you make?

I suffered a massive heart attack on Memorial Day 2019, the kind no one really survives. I was fading fast for what I thought were my final moments. Once you realize you are rendered helpless, you stop the struggle to survive, a very easy exit, stuff races through your head pretty quick and you think about all you left on the table. It happened fast and unexpectedly. My life has been very different since that day. This would be the beginning of removing constraints, restrictions and discovering what has been locked away, resulting in my quick digital snippets.

How did the quarantine/Covid-19 affect you as an artist?

When the city went on lock-down and coming to the realization that my businesses of 20 years were probably no longer, as I always do, I kept a positive outlook. I continued to doodle and post with no agenda or preconceived notions. The daily postings were the perfect therapy for my social media friends and myself. We became this huge support group. I received tons of notes saying that they looked forward to seeing my daily drawings and how uplifting they were. What a lovely surprise that my sloppy doodles made such an impact. Moreover, it has encouraged others to step out of their comfort zone and start doing daily doodles. Patty, my wife, continues to look at me with bewilderment and amazement as this evolves. This is a gift I am grateful for and do not take for granted.

Where do you work out of?

I can work almost anywhere, I create on my smart phone, which is a Samsung Note 8, it’s with me all the time. My brick and mortar design studio and custom dress shirt shop are located near Sandy Hook.

How often can you create?

With my smart phone, any time I have a spare moment or an idea, that’s the beauty of it. I pull the stylus out and start hacking away. It lets me be spontaneous to my thoughts and observations. I post daily to my social media accounts and I will soon offer NFTs.