Billy Solitario was born in Manhattan Beach, California in 1972. His family then moved to Gautier, Mississippi located on the Gulf of Mexico. In 1994, Billygraduated from the University of South Florida with a B.F.A. in painting. After graduation he moved to New Orleans. While attending the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art, Billy worked as a graphic artist with a small advertising agency. In 1997 he received the Gwendolyn Ozol’s Scholarship Award and studied painting full-time. In 2003, Billy received an M.F.A. in painting from Tulane University.
For the past ten years, Billy Solitario has worked as a professional artist, showing primarily in Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana. He currently shows at LeMieux Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the L2 Gallery in Seaside Florida.
Sense of Place
Lafcadio Hearn was a translator of Baudelaire’s poetry, his obsessive fascination with the pastel blue infinity of the Gulf sky is shared with Solitario, whose traditional approach yields no less gauzy results simply because local nature tends to be inherently impressionistic. Anyone who knows the Gulf Coast can relate to that sensation of dreaming “with open eyes.”
Solitario seems content to let the outer surfaces speak for themselves, so what you see is what you get.
Clouds, of course, exist everywhere, but the clouds over the Gulf Coast are utterly unlike the clouds of New Mexico, Hawaii or France for that matter, so here even the sky serves as an icon of a locale and its attendant sense of place.
By D. Eric Bookhardt
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