Meet the Artist: Debra Sue Solecki, Debra Sue Art

6 Rust Belt Ressurection
Local artist Debra Sue Solecki found her geographical muse in her travels and the beautiful world around us.

By Kelli Comer

Sometimes inspiration turns up in the most unexpected places, like in the pages of an old Rand McNally atlas. Local artist Debra Sue Solecki found her geographical muse in her travels and the beautiful world around us.

“I’ve loved maps for as long as I can remember,” Debra Sue says.

“From those folded paper versions used on long car trips with my parents to the amazing images we can now see on Google Earth.”

From a young age, art and creativity was always on Debra Sue’s mind.

After earning her undergraduate degree in Art Education from Bowling Green State University, she took a position as a full-time art educator for Strongsville City Schools, where she’s enjoyed a career for over 26 years. She holds a master’s degree with a concentration in drawing from Cleveland State University.

Although she has always found inspiration in travel and the natural environment, her most recent series of mixed media paintings are tied to specific places.

“My work starts with a location in mind,” explains Debra Sue. “I build layers of images showing the land, the history and the culture of that area laid out in a dream-like version of a map.”

Debra Sue’s evenings and weekends are filled with family, friends and the renovation of her family’s So Lucki Lodge, a vacation home in Marblehead. When she finds a free minute, she heads to the studio in her Westlake home to make some magic happen.

“There is a lot to absorb in my pieces and it’s almost impossible to see it all at once,” Debra Sue articulates. “The work tends to reveal itself over time, letting the viewer find something new every time they look at it.”

When working on her pieces, Debra Sue takes photographic images and cuts and glues them to her canvas, then paints and draws on them as they build an overall abstract composition. There are also textural elements in each piece—like cloth, scrap metal and wooden artifacts—attached to the canvas.

“It is very difficult to appreciate these pieces in a photo. To see this work in person is an entirely different experience,” smiles Debra Sue.

To reach Debra Sue, you can email her at or call 216-218-8171. To visit Debra Sue’s studio and explore her work in person, you can contact her to make an appointment. Find her work on Facebook at Debra Sue Art, and follow the page for updates and exhibit information.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment