uac061213001.gif Michael Solovey is not your typical artist. He doesn’t spend all of his days in the studio and he doesn’t have the “bohemian” lifestyle that many expect of a professional artist.

Instead, Solovey dons his uniform every morning, pulls on his boots and stands his post at Fort Bragg. Solovey has had deployments around the world and has seen conflict in Bosnia and Afghanistan. He has not let his job define what he does as an artist, rather, he uses it to refine it.

On Thursday, June 20, Fayetteville residents will have the opportunity to view Solovey’s unique works as Gallery 208 hosts an opening reception for his exhibit.

"Engineer the art like a

BMW, design it like a

Porsche and build it

with the heart and soul of a

Harley-Davidson."

Solovey has spent a lot of time thinking about his art work and pours himself into each project he undertakes whether it is a commission by an Army unit or organization or a personal project that he creates just for himself. He explains the way he approaches his art on his website.

“Success equals fulfi llment. And to me, fulfi llment is the combination of three very specifi c ideals that must be constantly pursued,” writes Solovey. “Probably the most rewarding concept for me is to ‘build something from nothing’ — whether that be a business, to composing a piece of artwork, to designing, engineering and then building an automobile from the ground-up. All the while, pouring every ounce of your energy, talent and heart into that specifi c initiative or ideal.

“Continually improve and seek to be the epitome in whatever niche you pursue. Be like Porsche,” he continues.

“Then there is the process of taking that end product(s) and sharing it. And then hopefully, others will feed from it and find inspiration that carries over into their respective pursuits. Then take it a step further — and mentor those junior to you — especially, in my case, younger artists.”

It would be easy for some to categorize Solovey as an artist who concentrates on military art. But that is too simplistic. Solovey’s work covers a variety of topics from the automobiles that help him envision his works to simple sketches of people and locations. Throw in sculpture, architectural renderings, landscapes and fine-art commissions and you begin to see the diversity of his works.

In creating his works, Solovey holds to some hard and fast rules:

• Never ever sacrifice quality.

• Take each new piece to the next level.

• The patron is always part of the creative process.

• No “Hollywood Art.”

• Always give the customer more than he expects.

• Be prolific.

• Keep originality a priority.

• Make their jaws drop.

• Give back to the community.

That work ethic has won him many supporters within the community. His signature works of art bear witness to the triumphs and losses of military units over the years.

“You see a lot of military art floating around, which is great and wonderful,” he noted. “But 95 percent of the military art out there isn’t done by guys who were actually there or that were actually in the service. Ten to 20 years from now, I hope all of my work will be a chronological journal in pictures of the war from someone who was actually there. It will resonate well with others who served.”

Solovey has books that belonged to his grandfather that are compilations of sketches by a World War II soldier, Bill Mauldin.

“He was a sergeant who drew sketches of soldiers during the war. He was there in Europe on the front lines. Knowing that he was drawing what he saw gives credibility to it,” he said. “Maybe 10 years from now I will do a coffee table book with all of my prints that will tell this story.”

Solovey is very careful to keep his two lives separate. His art is personal. He works on it for an hour or two each evening or on the weekends. Much of that time is spent fulfi lling commissions, which leaves little time for him to work on his own projects.

“I am very blessed that folks like and appreciate my work, but it leaves very little time to work on projects that I really want to do,” he said.

“I work in a lot of different mediums and at the opening, I’m going to have a lot of different works on exhibit: oil, water color, pencil, marble. Alot of people know about my military work, but they might not know that I do a lot of fine art work, as well.”

Solovey learned to paint while a senior at Virginia Military Institute.

“During my last year as a cadet, I went on an exchange with our sister school in France, where I attended art school,” he explained. “That’s where I learned to paint. We didn’t do any real sketching like I do now, instead we studied the works of the great artists in southern France in the 1800s. That’s really my roots.”

Understanding that, people will understand that Solovey has a passion for creating city scenes and working in water color and oil.

With his exhibit, Solovey hopes to show people a holistic view of his art. “Just because a guy is in the military, doesn’t mean that he is myopic. There are a lot of guys out there who have a lot of unique talents. I went to the Infantry Advanced Course with a guy who is an opera singer.”

Another passion for Solovey is drawing old cars.

“Cars today are very bland. Back in ‘50s and ‘60s there was some brilliant design work with the rounded fenders and curves. It really lends itself to a piece of art,” he said.

His art also gives him the opportunity to give back. Over the years he has created a number of works for nonprofits, including those dealing with wounded warriors.

“That’s one of the most rewarding parts. I have the ability to give back to the community; to help families in need,” he said.

To learn more about Solovey’s work, join the staff of Up & Coming at the opening from 5:30-7 p.m. on June 20.

Cover photo: Brotherhood

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