We all try to find meaning and purpose in our lives. Some of us in our work, family, and some of us in solitude or retreat. For most people, it’s a smooth journey. And when things don’t work out the way we’d like them to, some of us just pack and leave, start a new thing, divorce, have a baby and so on. Miki knows that he has nothing to lose. He has, among many other things, hand painted clothes in Canada, experimented with repurposing artwork in America, taught English as a Hungarian – Canadian in Japan, but his true inner self manifested itself in his paintings. Today he’s tirelessly painting, and there’s no stopping him.
Miklós Solymosi was born in 1967 in Dunaújváros – Hungary, in the midst of the communist regime. He spent his entire childhood behind the Iron Curtain. Consequently, growing up in an industrial town surrounded by lackluster and unsophisticated crudeness deeply affected the artist, and perhaps gave him the first impulse to create beautiful paintings today. At the age of eighteen, Miki had decided to run for it and try his luck abroad. “I was a kid living in a steel town housing project with all of its blankness wrapped in socialist reality. Then, at age fourteen I found out that my often abusive and unloving father was actually my stepfather, it was a real letdown, to say the least. This complicated family situation mixed with restless frustration was the driving force behind my decision to leave, and soon I found myself on the western side of the border just a week before being drafted to serve a 2-year mandatory army service, ” – remembers the artist.
Miki, similarly to many of the Hungarians who fled socialist Hungary, ended up at a refugee camp in neighboring Austria. However, the difficult conditions did not discourage him: After nine long months of waiting, Canada had welcomed him with open arms. English learning and settling in his newly found home was fun and easy thanks to new friends and to the first-rate language training program he enrolled in. A new life presented new possibilities, freedom and independence paved the way for the artist to embark on a beautiful journey of self-discovery. Not shying away from hard manual labor, including learning new trades and the behavior of various materials and dabbling in various things like photography or construction work, was very rewarding in honing his skills as a self- taught artist. As Miki says, Canada was a much more liberal country than Hungary back then: there’s so much space, so much freedom to create. He began to paint for his own pleasure, just to decorate his own clothes: he painted on t-shirts and jackets, then he later included friends’ fashion items in the process.
He moved to Washington D.C. at the invitation of an old artist friend, where he had met his future wife, a Japanese woman who was working for a local tv station at the time. They got married and ended up living all over America for almost ten years. “It was fascinating to see all the opportunities America had to offer: Here too – Just like back in Canada, freedom, and an independent mindset prevailed. This inspirational environment opened up a new opportunity for me: I took up working with repurposing objects – mostly metal, recyclable art. I took to the streets, flea markets, junkyards, in search of interesting objects. People’s trash was my treasure “. He made metal wearable accessories, jewelry, and other items of clothing, selling them on his street stand. Then one day his wife’s parents invited them to Japan, so they moved.
The land of the rising sun was where he found his new home in his early thirties. Not only in a physical sense, but also as an artist. He started working as an English teacher in Japan, but in his spare time, he began frequenting the local art supply shop where he bought paint and canvas to unleash his pent up creative energy and let loose years of accumulated painting ideas. Miki remembers with gratitude: “I began to paint with the full support and encouragement of my then wife and her parents in Kyoto. My wife’s grandfather on her father’s side was, in fact, a well-known master silk weaver, whose work has been on display at the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts, and on top of that, they exhibited his work also in one of the most prominent festivals in Japan, the Gion-Matsuri Festival. “Well, that kind of set the bar high, but I’m proud to follow in his footsteps!”
The works were soon endorsed by one of Miki’s private students. This generous Japanese lady organized an exhibition of Miki’s first twenty-five pictures in an upscale local cafe, where the paintings were received with a warm welcome by art enthusiasts.: “The place was full of people interested in something new. Later the news that they sold all my paintings was just the icing on the cake! ”Miki remembers. However, artistic restlessness called again: Miki and his wife had decided to move to Europe – to Hungary. Their son was born in Budapest, now they all still residing in the capital. Miki now admits that he has always been a painter, it was only a matter of time before fully accepting it. “I’m bold, spirited and adventurous. I have nothing to lose by trying to overcome mediocrity, ”he adds, smiling.
A few months ago, his paintings have started to appear in reputable offices throughout Budapest. Miki says his images motivate people. Mainly because his paintings redefine the mood and the office rigidity is transformed by a dynamic “disorder”. It shows you how to think outside the box.
His paintings depict gripping images, they stand out, because, as he says, he never copies others; although he follows all forms and styles of art with great interest and humility. He states that his images do not need explanation, they leave a lasting impression and conjure up a feeling that every piece has its own story, but everyone perceives it on different emotional levels. There’s no need to explain the artist’s original intention.
„I’m an eternal optimist. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”
„People’s trash was my treasure”
„I don’t copy anyone”