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Career Stories: Thom Solo, BFA '12

Image of Thom Solo with text that says SMFA Career Stories

You may have seen Thom Solo’s shoes adorning style icons and influencers like Lady Gaga, Lana del Ray, and Britney Spears. Or you may have caught his designs in the recent Gender Bending Fashion exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. If you haven’t seen them, you may be surprised by their sculptural qualities—fishhook heels, resin-cast spines, silk floral embellishments. His collections draw inspiration from science fiction, fairytale archetypes, and modern-day feminism.

Black and white picture of Thom Solo
Courtesy of Thom Solo.

Immersing himself in sculpture and photography at SMFA, Thom found his way to wearable sculpture, and finally to his passion for shoe design:

One of the many strengths of SMFA is the flexibility in the programs and agility of faculty to nurture and respond to students’ interests and the exploration of different media. Having a range of choices in the curriculum was great, but the school also allowed a sense of personal direction. Artists are the ultimate ‘self-starters’ and everything we do relies on this instinct, these skills. It’s been essential for me as I build my own company.

Finding communities within communities was the most enjoyable part of SMFA for me. People make a place, and the rich variety of people and interests in addition to the affiliation with the MFA itself stays with me. I went into the museum constantly over the years that I was there . . . It holds legends within its walls and to have my work shown there was truly an amazing experience.

The ability to converse so openly and discuss concepts from beginning to end was such an incredible experience. I miss it to this day. My sculpture teacher helped nurture a passion for learning and pushing boundaries. He welcomed my breaking out of the curriculum in progress to explore a different path and loved that I was politely telling him ‘I am doing my own thing.’ With his encouragement and guidance, he basically let me develop my interests and, consequently, what has become my brand from within the SMFA walls.

Images courtesy of Thom Solo.