Victor Solomon is a smooth dude with good taste. His personal style is extremely refined and considered and that practice is shown through his timeless body of work. Swarovski crystal nets dangle from medieval stained glass backboards, common zines satirically made out of brass plates, and Japanese inspired porcelain basketballs are only a few of the luxurious items produced inside of the artists bespoke studio located off the 5 in East Los Angeles. We had a chance to take a trip and see what Victor was up to as he prepares for NBA All-Star Weekend.
Sports and fine art rarely cross paths. How did you start this trajectory that you’re on today?
It really started with a curiosity about stained glass, a mostly forgotten medium with a lot of historical narrative. Basketball’s always been a big part of my life - and as I learned more about the process and its symbolism of stained glass, it felt really organic to bring the two together. Basketball is this cleanly meritocratic, no-barrier-to-entry sport that can whisk you through class, while stained glass has historically been reserved for kings as the symbol of this arrival. Combined: a celebration of sport as the vessel of ascension (and an ironic twist of exchanging an object’s functionality for a flex). Had no plans outside of making the first one, but guess I tapped into something people have been responding to, so just riding this ridiculous wave as long as they’ll let me.
Where are you from originally and what made you want to call Los Angeles your home?
I grew up in Boston, moved to SF for a while and drifted down to LA a few years back. I’m still finding my bearings here, but the community around creatives and artists here and space and resources to realize any idea is really inspiring.
Materials and Process seem to play a big role in your work. Why are these so important to the finished product?
I think this comes from my filmmaking days where every camera position, piece of wardrobe, production design element, etc. is a decision that should be justified in supporting the story at large. Having a narrative behind what I’m doing in any medium keeps it from just being arbitrary *stuff - so I try to imbue any piece with materials and processes that contextualize it in a story that’s being told.
There’s a level of discipline that I think your work holds. From a brand point of view it feels really tight and considered. Does this come natural?
When I first started making anything years ago, I made this diagram to keep focus on the long view of my “work” - sort of rules of the game. The rules dictate a few requirements (like, a level of technical sophistication, and that everything has to be beautiful) that protect from arbitrary output. Hopefully - if they’re set up the right way, that level of discipline continues to read, no matter if we’re making a film, a painstaking sculpture or even making something silly.
You’ve worked on some amazing partnerships with brands, athletes, and organizations. What’s your favorite projects to date and anything exciting on the horizon?
I’m really still just trying to figure out what this project is, but have a few big things coming I’m excited about: We’re unveiling a basketball court at All Star Weekend that’s suspended 10 feet overhead where people’ll be able to stand under a game that’s playing. I’m working with the NBA on re-imagining the trophies, some interesting court renovation projects, talking to Turner about some broadcast stuff, think I finally found out how to make products related to all of this and just installed a piece at LeBron’s house.
Thanks for your time man looking forward to see what’s next from you and Literally Balling.
Victor wears the General Admission Shore Coat in Natural
Follow his work at Literally Balling and on Instagram Here
Rest In Peace Kobe Bryant 1978 - 2020