We recently caught up with artist, and longtime freind of the gallery, Matthew Solomon. Here is what he had to say:
You were a lawyer in a "previous life" as the saying goes. Tell us about how you made the transition from law to becoming a full time ceramicist? We're inspired and a tad jealous.
I can’t remember exactly when the transition started. Probably before 9/11 but looking back I think that’s what pushed me over the edge. I was a trial lawyer working out of Manhattan living in Connecticut. 2 hour Metro North commute each way. Really really stressed. You had to have your game face on all the time. All of the sins known to man. Despite having killed every houseplant I’d ever owned I started to garden to relax. Vegetables and flowers from seed. I fell in love with good dirt. And I started to have this overwhelming urge to make things inspired by these things I was growing. I bought a bag of overpriced clay in a local art supply store and began making flowers in my basement. My wife would have guests over and they would ask for me but I would only come up from the basement to say hello. I was working my ass off all week and I only had Saturdays to do what I wanted. Later they would say “Ah, now we understand what you were doing,” but at the time it was a bit awkward. No kiln. I never fired anything I made then. I remember coffee cups with Clematis blossoms and ginger jars. A line of tableware inspired by the various stops on the Lexington Avenue Line Grand Central, Borough Hall, Fulton Street. Not sure if they’re still there but there were some great tiles in those stations. The Fulton Street Station “F” surrounded by a flourish on a blue background was a great inspiration. My wife was running a group home for abused kids in Bridgeport so she was pretty stressed out too. Sometime around 2002 we decided to sell the house and find a cheap place somewhere to live, garden and build a studio. Wasn’t sure exactly what I would do but was pretty sure I would figure something out. Moved to Sullivan County in January 2004. Spent a year reading clay books and developing glazes. Had a daughter. Bought a kiln. Started making and firing things. Soon after I met a designer, Lou Moratta, who had seen a vase I’d made for my mother in law. He offered me a booth at the 2006 NY Design Fair at the Armory and I’ve been going ever since.