Friday, 1 July 2011
Seedy beauty: The environmental art of Richard Solomon
Tucked away, far from the beaten track, grows a wild seed. It’s found in a secluded spot near an 8,000 foot mesa, shielded by its natural habitat, invisible to most passersby. Unless you are Richard Solomon, a man who lives to find seeds and plant material.
Also known as the “Seed Shaman,” (www.seedshaman.com), Solomon is a man with a passion for discovering, collecting and working with a variety of plant material including goat’s beard, milkweed, desert marigold and wild sunflowers he uncovers on nature walks near his home in Ilfeld, New Mexico.
Solomon has been collecting and creating seed art for almost two and a half decades. After a successful career as CEO/Founder of a marketing and product development company for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits, including the World Wildlife Fund, he was ready for more natural pursuits. While a resident of upstate New York, he was taking a walk one day and came across an unusual clump of grass. Pulling it up from the ground, he examined the dangling roots and asked the Universe, “How can I make my way in this world with this beauty?”
With that vision, Richard embarked upon a new life making his living as an environmental artist. He believes he may be the first with his particular style of art and hopes his work will spread globally as a part of an emerging environmental arts movement.
Like Solomon himself, his work is multi-dimensional. He creates large Giclee fine art prints, set against a black background which he believes best accentuate the details of the seeds and petals. He also creates smaller, flat-pressed pieces that are multi-layered, usually containing flower petals, grasses, seeds and roots. Each composition tells a story; as Solomon says, it’s like he was on a journey without a map when he designed them.
Aside from his originals and prints, Solomon creates botanical sculptures using branches, twigs, pods, grasses and bark. Each sculpture is sewed and bound with the natural fibers of the yucca plant as he eschews using any unnatural elements such as glue, string or wire. They are completely organic pieces of art that can be hung on walls or doorways. However, like most fine art, they should be kept away from direct sunlight. This goes for all of his work, as the elements are in a natural, dried state.
His current “Seed Orb” project involves creating and marketing glass orbs filled with goat’s beard heads which looks like large, luminous dandelions. The pieces make lovely interior accents that can be used together in clusters or simply by themselves.
Solomon is also in the process of marketing a new global environmental venture called EarthWords™ to be introduced in the spring of 2012. EarthWords™ is a kit containing rye grass seeds, a dispenser and a guide book. The purpose of the kit to write a word in the earth that will grow into a ‘green’ social statement within 10 days. It is a project suited for everyone: consumers, corporate sponsors, nonprofits and schools. Solomon believes EarthWords™ will help bring awareness to global warming by allowing individuals to literally write a “green footprint” on the earth and develop a new sense of reverence for the world around us.
Richard Solomon’s art may be purchased on his web-site, www.seedshaman.com, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by contacting him directly at 575.421.2855.
PHOTOS: C. LANGRALL, RICHARD SOLOMON AND ERIC SANDERS