We had the good fortune of connecting with Beatrice Solo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Beatrice, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I moved to the U.S. about 10 years ago from a rural town in Germany. My mother and father grew up in post-war Germany, my grandparents both lived through WWII and their parents experienced WWWI. It is incredible to think about that, even though this all happened seemingly so long ago, this still had a huge impact on my generation and our upbringing. Both of my parents were strict and expected us to work hard. My Mom always told us kids, “if we can party, we can get up to go to work.” My parents never sugarcoat anything and I prefer to be straight-forward and appreciate people being honest with me even if it is not always easy to hear. One day, long after I graduated high school, I was already in art school, I ran into my third grade teacher; he took a long look at me… young little me, standing there with ripped jeans, tattoos, piercings and black eye make up. Suddenly, he announced that I will never be successful in life. I was shocked. This was the same day I decided that I will prove everyone wrong. Fast forward to today, I own two businesses. And I still wear ripped jeans, have tattoos and piercings. I think people often underestimate me, but I am proud of my accomplishments. I made sure to create spaces where people feel welcome and comfortable. I truly love what I do and am very fortunate to be able to use my passions for work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I was 16 or so when I started art school and then continued my education to get my photography degree. Yes, I am “one of those” art majors, haha. Well, ten years later I moved to Colorado Springs, and I still hadn’t taken much advantage of my art degree. To be honest, I always have been a bit self-conscious about my art and sharing it with the public. Even though I loved to create for myself, I never thought I could make a living with it. Until finally! One day, I became friends with Leah von Fage, an incredible graphic designer and owner of LVF Creative (@lvfcreative) as well as the genius behind the Novis Mortem logo. We connected over our interest of beetles, butterflies and other curiosities. She explained to me the art of pinning, which then turned into an obsession for me. I can get quite excited with the things I am passionate about. It came to the point where my collection was not only bursting out of the seams, but also out of our quaint downtown Colorado Springs home. That was the time Novis Mortem was born (at least online), but then the next struggle showed itself: inexperienced me realized real quick that domes made of glass are hard to ship (go figure) and I experienced more financial loss than gain. In June of last year, I was talking with my friend, Sarah Raban (@sarah_raban_art), a very talented artist here in the Springs. During our conversation, I had the idea of opening a store front for Novis Mortem. After a couple hours of brainstorming, how I could make this work with still running my day spa, I ran with my thoughts and immediately proposed Novis Mortem Collective to my husband. All it takes is inspiration, support and a little push! I wanted a place where people can enjoy and buy art that is not found in every gallery, like electroformed jewelry, entotaxidermy and unique wall art. I connect very personally with every piece I make, so do all my artists that are part of the collective and I want my customers to see that. Novis Mortem is an experience. I love getting to know everyone that comes into Novis Mortem and usually leaves with at least one fun fact. But Novis Mortem would be nothing without The Collective and the community. Colorado Springs has incredibly talented artists and I am grateful to be working with ladies like Lindsey Larson (@lmlarsonart), Dania O’Neal (@terramjewels) and Alex Feinstein (@AFW). I am also lucky to be supported by other artists like Riley Bretzler (@riley_coyote) and Brett Andrus (@brettandrus) whom I admire and have admired for years. Colorado Springs has so much to offer, you just have to go explore a bit, shop locally and wander off the main street.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a great one especially since I have planned such itinerary for my friends from Germany. We would probably start with a big German breakfast, not for their sake but mine, with things we got at Wimbergers the German bakery here in town as well as some fresh bread from Nightingale. Afterwards I would bring my friend to my absolute must go place; May Bug Museum! The May Natural History Museum has stunning specimens and is just outside of Colorado Springs. I can spend several days there. The next day we would most likely go for a hike in the north Cheyenne canyon and watch the broad tail humming birds up by Hellen Hunt Falls (another one of my obsessions). I would be taking them to Shugas for lunch. They have the best snacks and drinks! I would show them some of my favorite shops like Eclectic also a cute little collective, Yobel, their mission is planet, people, profit, an amazing concept with conscious merchandise that puts the people and planet first. We would most likely end the day at the new piano bar that opened across the street from the collective called icons. The owners used to sing on Broadway and they, as well as their bar tenders give amazing little live performances. Its like little NYC in COS.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This list would probably longer than anyone cares to read. I believe that everyone you encounter in your life help you grow, at least I do. But I would highlight four people. Most of all I contribute a lot of my success to my husband, without him I would have never had the courage to leave my place of employment of almost 10 years to open my own little day spa. Without him Novis Mortem Collective would not exist. When I came to him with the idea to open an art collective with “dead bugs” he listened inventively to my idea and just responded lets do it, eight weeks later we had our grand opening in the midst of a pandemic. He is by far the most supportive, loving and encouraging person that has ever come into my life and for sure is my biggest fan. When I was about 16 I started working in this restaurant, my supervisors name was Holger (we are still friends today 18 years later and 3000 miles between us) but he was always encouraging and the quality I admired most was the kindness he treated people with no matter who it was, if he knew them or not. Lastly but definitely not least I contribute my work ethic to my parents. I always remember my dad working crazy hours and always pushing me. I may have not liked it when I was younger but I sure am grateful that they did see my potential to be willing to keep pushing.
Mary Wagner – Boudreau + Co