Living in New York, I really shouldn’t say this, but sorry, it’s true: Boston is probably the best city to reside if you’re a diehard sports fan. And if you aren’t? It’s probably the worst. Not sure on the methodology, but year after year it's literally rated the top sports town in America. So for artist Victor Solomon—a Boston-born boy growing up in the afterglow of the Bird era—it’s only natural he found inspiration from basketball.
Solomon is a film-turned-glass-maker who also dabbled in sculpture, currently living in San Francisco. (Luckily, if you want to learn the art of glassmaking, the Bay Area is the place to be.) As a fan of basketball, Solomon became intrigued by more than the sport, like how from pickup to professional the game stays the same, while at times the economic disparity couldn’t be greater. Its ability to transcend class makes it easy to see how these mega-god athletes are truly modern day kings. Solomon wanted to display this through the art of stained glass, a craft historically reserved only for religion and royalty. “It was important to let the idea dictate the process it needed,” says Solomon when discussing the year he spent apprenticing under glass masters, learning the trade in hopes of executing his vision.
Last July, we were fortunate to display the crown jewels in the window and main floor of our Women’s flagship store on Howard Street in New York. And while we’re just flattered to have such beautiful pieces of art grace OC, we wanted to know why he felt this was a good temporary home for his work. “Basketball players are more than other sports’ face-less muscle robots—they’re rich, curious, weirdos with an infinity of resources to explore fashion, art, music etc.,” says Solomon. “And that’s really exciting. Rondo and Westbrook are really adventurous with fashion, Amar’e is building a huge art collection, Lillard is rapping—and as they’re curating all of this within themselves, they’re influencing a generation of fans.” It’s true, basketball stars have reached a new level of cultural significance and whether their interests lie in music, fashion, or art, they’re influencing not only what we wear but defining luxury in America.
Which all plays into the irony of Solomon’s work because at the end of the day, just like his “Tiffany’s-style” stained glass backboards, glimmering nets, and gold plated rims, luxury is fragile. Even the King himself, King James that is, gets that after Solomon mentioned being in talks with the player … Or who knows, maybe he just wants a hoop that is literally balling.