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The Pueblo Chieftain | Nathan Solano

‘Eventually it came around’: Pueblo artist Nathan Solano is a self-taught painter

The Pueblo Chieftain | March 22, 2022 | James Bartolo

Nathan Solano served in Vietnam, held jobs at Pueblo’s steel mill, as a roofer, pouring cement, bartending, taking photos for The Chieftain and in advertising before he started painting for a living in his 40s.

His paintings of Native Americans, cowboys and Western landscapes were recently featured in Art of the West magazine, a premier bimonthly publication for fine art collectors and enthusiasts. 

Nathan Solano at his art studio on the second floor of Pueblo’s Historic Federal Building, Taken by James Bartolo, the Pueblo Chieftain

Actress Goldie Hawn and Dallas Cowboy greats Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach have purchased paintings by Solano, who is entirely self-taught — and “still learning,” he said.

“It would have been a lot easier if I had gone to art school,” Solano told The Chieftain as he worked at his studio on the second floor of downtown Pueblo’s Historic Federal Building.

“Inside his Downtown Pueblo studio, Solano has paintings of former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway scoring against the Oakland Raiders (left) and Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Randy White sacking Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon,” Taken by James Bartolo, The Pueblo Chieftain.

Growing up

Born in a coal-mining camp in Utah, Solano’s father moved the family to Pueblo because he didn’t want his children to work in mines when they grew up.

Solano graduated from Pueblo South High School in 1968 and briefly attended the University of Colorado in Boulder. During the Vietnam War, he served as an infantry sergeant in the U.S. Army.

He attended college “on and off” for about seven years, but never obtained a degree. After briefly working for The Chieftain in the mid-’70s, he made a living as an illustrator and art director with advertising agencies in Colorado Springs and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Nathan Solano  - This Day Is Not Going To End Well
Nathan Solano , “This Day Is Not Going To End Well,” Oil on Canvas, 24 x 30 in

Then, when he was around 40 years old, he “got this job to do 20 paintings for this big sports bar. That’s how I started painting,” he said.

In 1989, Solano was hired as a graphic designer at Hewlett Packard in Colorado Springs.

“That was on the cusp of when computers came in and I was lost,” he said. “So I just started painting, trying to make a living. Eventually, it came around.”

Read the full article at The Pueblo Chieftain >

Nathan Solano  - Below Mt. Blanca
Nathan Solano , “Below Mt. Blanca,” Oil on Canvas, 24 x 36 in