Written by E.L. Taylor
At the end of Surf City is Solace Studio and Gallery, easily identified by the vintage 1970 Jeep Wagoneer parked out front. Inside the gallery, the visitor will find carefully displayed artwork in mixed media and paintings. Franny Andahazy, owner, artist and designer exhibits work by up to ten artists at any given time.
Bay Magazine visited Franny at the gallery.
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Bay: Please share your evolution as an artist.
Franny: Art has always been a part of my life. In college, I designed sets and majored in technical theater , but later switched to art education. After eight years of teaching, I started Party by Design, the largest event planning company in New England, a business I have owned for thirty years. I’m very inspired by the French Impressionists which is a source of inspiration in my work .
Bay: Why open a gallery on Long Beach Island?
Franny: I had a gallery in New England for eight years called Oceanside 17 named after my mother’s home located in North Beach . We sold the house and I closed the gallery and ever since then, there’s been something calling me to come home. The energy is huge for me to be back here. My husband, Michael, found this property, which looks like my New England studio, so I opened Solace in 2014.
Why the name Solace? Because LBI is my solace and there is no place I'd rather be.
Bay: When you compare your gallery to others on the island, what do you think makes Solace unique?
Franny: The gallery is not just a gallery to me. It is culmination of what I have learned and accomplished over thirty years. Being in the hospitality industry and working my event business, Party by Design, both provide a unique set of experiences. So when someone walks in my gallery and doesn’t see what he or she likes, I’ll have a discussion about what is appealing. I’ll take several pieces to their home. I’m a designer of spaces and know how to coordinate room colors. with the art and room design . I like to offer quality customer service . I’ll find the artist whose paintings will complement the home and when available will deliver your paintings in our vintage jeep.
Beach day with lab Sally Dean
Bay: What seems to be the current trend in art on the island?
Franny: Currently abstract art is in. The new homes are contemporary and paintings without imagery look great with home decor . Clients want large contemporary pieces especially in the larger homes .
Bay: Do you have time for your own art or has the business diminished your time to create?
Franny: The business although exciting has taken time away from my art making , but when I look at who I am as a person, I don’t think I could spend my days, day in and day out, as only a painter. I love people too much. I love to create in many facets, whether it be creating galleries or creating parties. So I know I’ll always have some other iron in the fire and will be doing some kind of creative work.
Bay: Are you working on a project now?
Franny: The winter months are when I “power paint.” I take photos all summer long, then when I go through them and something catches my eye, I start painting, working on three to ten paintings simultaneously. I never paint completely from a photo, as I always add something to it. Making it my own. A painting can paint itself. I can tell within an hour if that painting can paint itself. What I mean by that is everything works!
Bay: What are your future plans and goals?
Franny: I’d really like to let go of events completely. I would coach people, but I want to focus on selling art and painting. I’d like to become a famous artist one day . I’d love to see my art in a museum . Personally I'd like to see LBI blossom in the arts that's the reason I am here.The light here, the peace, the gravity—it’s a painter’s paradise! It’s time to push it to the next level and I’d like to be a part of that. That would be my goal and focus.
Bay: Would you share something about yourself that people may not know?
Franny: When I paint I’m very curious about what people think. I often change my paintings after hearing client comments ..What I strive to be is an artist who paints from the soul , rather than for my audience.