Fernando Alberto Soler was born in Havana Cuba in 1947. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1956 where they settled on the island of Key West. He attended public school there graduating from Key West High School in 1966. Uncle Sam called in 1967 and he was inducted into the US Coast Guard for the next four years. In 1971 he came to Sarasota and attended Ringling School of Art. Throughout his career in commercial art he has maintained a steady flow of paintings and has exhibited his work in many art centers, group and solo exhibitions in cities like Staten Island, Key West, Sarasota, and Bradenton. In 2011 and 2012 he held two solo exhibitions at Daas Gallery and Art for ACTS Gallery in the city of Fort Myers Florida. In June 2014, he held a solo exhibition at the Studio at Gulf and Pine Gallery on Anna Maria Island. Most recently he has received one honorable mention award from Art Uptown gallery and two honorable mention awards from Art Center Sarasota and he is just getting started.
Fernando says: I am a very fortunate person for two reasons…first, as a very young child, I always knew that I was going to be an artist and secondly, my family brought me here, to this wonderful country where I could pursue my dream of being an artist. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy, nothing worth having is seldom easy, but I have managed to keep a small studio wherever I’ve lived and always gave myself projects to do and galleries and shows to join in order to learn my craft. I have tried many different styles and techniques. I have worked in oils, water color, pen and ink and collage most of my life but now I work primarily with acrylic paints which are very versatile and flexible. Progress must not be denied.
How did I know that I was born “an artist”, aside from the fact that I was always drawing and painting people and things that surrounded me, I realized that I had a different view of my world than most of my childhood friends. As a child I preferred the company of adults where I could learn from their life experiences and share in their wisdom. It is ironic that at this stage of my career, I have come full circle to express myself with colorful happy characters having fun and enjoying life just as I did when I was a child myself. I think that kids are the best artists because of their innocence. I pay tribute to them in one of my poems when I say: “…my finest teacher ever was a child of only three who with crayons and lined paper said so very much to me…not with words but with love, touched my soul and set me free”.
In an era where millions of people call themselves artists and images are available to anyone with a computer and half a brain, art has become, in my opinion, sterile. Just look around you, art is everywhere, from the bottom of our shoes to the logos on our hats. This work comes mostly from the mind and I do it too for commercial purposes…I have to eat you know. On the other hand, my paintings are products of the heart. There is no trickery, no printing, no short cuts, it is all done with imagination, experience, love of nature, and my fellow man and lots of brushes, paints and canvas.
Each one of my larger paintings takes anywhere from forty to sixty hours to produce and I work in two to four hour intervals seven days a week day or night. When I have a brush in my hand, I am conducting the world’s symphony orchestra, no wonder I am so addicted to my work.
I hope you, the viewer can experience some of these feeling when you, not just look at my work, but try to see what lies behind the curtain of gesso, paint and canvas.