Julia Santos Solomon
Teaching Artist-in-Residence, Fall 2020–Summer 2021
Dominican-American artist Julia Santos Solomon has been creating paintings, sculpture, prints, fashion design, and digital media for more than forty years. Her body of multimedia work, which has been exhibited and collected nationally and abroad, speaks to the full range of one woman’s life experience coming out of the vibrant cultural heritage of the Caribbean. As a founding member of the Altos de Chavon School of Design in La Romana, Dominican Republic, and teacher of Fashion Illustration and Design at Parsons School of Design in New York, her vision has shaped generations of successful Latinx artists.
Works by the artist are featured in the exhibition Women to the Fore, which on view at the HRM through January 3, 2021. Her work makes important statements about identity and heritage—that are both personal and that deal with overcoming colonial legacies. For example, in her Caribbean Thoughts Mashup, a layered digital print on metal, Santos Solomon says she “. . . wanted to create an image where the background and the figure were the same . . . . I am in the landscape and the landscape is in me . . . . I process the world through Caribbean eyes. My deepest aspiration is to connect with viewers emotionally, which requires that I mine my life experiences. I dig deep until I get to my truth.”
In Nine Year Old Mashup, a digital print with gold, “Gold is the precious indigenous metal that European conquerors took from my birthplace, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic). In utilizing gold leaf in my art, I am re-appropriating the gold, one leaf at a time, affording me historical healing.” By sharing her sensory relationship to the landscape, in which traditional views imprinted in childhood become aerial and abstract and merge with later life experience, Santos Solomon invites us to ponder our own narratives, where we came from, and what we brought with us.
Santos Solomon was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the US at the age of 10. She attended the High School of Art and Design in New York City, Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and then studied in Rome, where she was classically trained. “Rembrandt, Vermeer, Goya, and Velazquez were the masters we studied, whose legacies I claimed as my own.” Santos Solomon has been living in Woodstock, New York, for twenty years and loves creating art in her studio in the woods. Santos Solomon is represented in permanent collections at the Latin Art Museum, Hudson River Museum, Indiana University Museum, Museo de Arte Moderno, and Altos de Chavon Foundation. She is archived at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art and the Dominican Studies Institute at CUNY.
Drawing the Head: A Virtual Workshop
Saturday, November 14, 2–3:30pm
Multimedia artist and Teaching Artist-in-Residence Julia Santos Solomon, whose work is featured in Women to the Fore, has been exploring the human head throughout her professional career. Observe how she captures the shape, movement, and expression of the face with an economy of line, and learn how to train your eye and hand in this workshop, live from the artist’s studio. All you’ll need is pencil, paper, scissors, glue, a board (masonite, cardboard, heavy gauge paper, etc.), and fabric (optional). Choose a subject to draw; it can be yourself, a model or a large head shot from a magazine. Then, collage your drawing onto the board, on which you’ve placed a symbolic landscape as a backdrop. Think of your happy place! Support provided by Art Bridges.
Landscapes in Miniature: A Virtual Painting Workshop
Sunday, January 17, 3:30–5pm
Join Teaching Artist-in-Residence Julia Santos Solomon in her studio for a hands-on lesson in the construction of a landscape that speaks to you. Bring a large-format image of your choice from a magazine, calendar, or the like, and analyze its elements and composition along with the artist. Then, paint it in full color on a smaller scale using art materials you have at home: watercolor or pastel on 9 × 12” paper or acrylic paint on 9 × 12” canvas board; brushes; and water containers. Support provided by Art Bridges.
Mixed-Media Dreamscapes: A Virtual Monoprint Workshop
Saturday, May 22, 3:30–5pm
Experiment with unorthodox materials to create two landscapes rendered in black over colorful abstract backgrounds. Play with different effects using food coloring on a dryer sheet. Then print a monotype or “ghost” image on another sheet, and draw on top of both backgrounds. Be amazed and delighted at the images that emerge, with coloring both vivid and subdued! You can find most of the required materials in your kitchen or laundry room: dryer sheets; food coloring; a tray to hold the sheets (baking sheet, styrofoam, or aluminum will work); tongs or tweezers; untextured watercolor or printing paper; charcoal, charcoal pencil, or black paint; brayer, big metal spoon, or flat-bottomed glass; heavy-gauge paper (for backing); glue (Elmer’s is fine). Support provided by Art Bridges.
Layered Landscapes: A Virtual Studio Demonstration
Sunday, July 18, 3:30–5pm
Enjoy a rare view into the unique artistic process of Julia Santos Solomon as she explores the potential of different materials in her studio to elicit images from her subconscious. Journey with her as hidden memories emerge to find form as abstract landscapes. Engage with the artist through Q&A as she works to gain insight into her practice and technique. Recommended for adults. If you’d like to work along with Santos Solomon, required materials are: masonite board; glass palette; scraping knife (to mix paint); oil sticks; cold wax; perforated textures (for use as stencils); baby wipes, rags/paper towels (to clean palette). Support provided by Art Bridges.
Family Studio: Art Workshops
Virtual Family Studio Art Workshop: Portrait and Nature
Saturday, January 9, 23, & 30 at 1:30–2:30pm
Create a portrait using the colors of a landscape that represents where you come from, then collage your drawing onto a backdrop on which you’ve placed a landscape that symbolizes that place. This workshop is designed by Teaching Artist-in-Residence Julia Santos Solomon and led by Junior Docents. Supplies: Use a large picture cut from a calendar, magazine, or newspaper, glassine paper, a photo or yourself, pencil, markers, scissors, and glue. Support provided by Art Bridges.
Virtual Family Studio Art Workshop: Mixed-Media Dreamscapes
Saturday, May 22 & 29 at 1:30–2:30pm (online)
Get inspired by the artwork of Julia Santos Solomon and create a dreamscape with cut-paper pictures representing leaves, flowers, trees, animals, and more. Make a collage where dreams and nature build a colorful abstract background offset by golden accents. Use a large picture cut from a calendar, magazine, or newspaper, other cut-paper pictures, natural materials like leaves, mixed media, markers, metallic foil flakes, scissors, and glue. Support provided by Art Bridges.