“To me , surrealism in art is what progressive rock is in music, no rules no restrictions, but only freedom of thought ”
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How did you become an artist?
I have been painting for as long as I can remember. In the early years, I was trying to replicate on paper my surroundings, trying to match the forms and colours as close to reality as possible using different drawing materials. I don’t remember exactly when I started using water colours but I enjoyed painting so much I stuck to the brushes ever since. My favourite subjects at the time were landscapes and seascapes. Sometime in the early nineties, I got brave enough and tried using oil paints on canvas. Since then it became my preferred media and a way to express myself through art. During this period, I was under the influence of various artists from different countries. The list is long but I feel I need to mention at least two – Ivan Aivazovsky and Ivan Shishkin. I was fascinated by their art, spending hours looking at it and thus learning from them. I can definitely say that realism, hyperrealism and magic realism were the styles I was influenced by at the time.
In 1992 at an exhibition in my home town I sold six of my paintings at once. This was the moment I realised I would love to be a professional artist.
Who were your main influences growing up?
At the beginning, of course, I was mainly influenced by Salvador Dalí and Rene Magritte. Later on, I began to admire the art of many other famous and not so famous artists. The more I learnt about surrealism the more my excitement grew. I could feel that this was “my thing”. Lately, despite my profound admiration for many past and present artists, I came to the realisation that the truest teacher is indeed nature. My desire to observe and analyse the world around me played a major role in shaping my artistic self and style. I was less and less interested in what other artists were doing and more focused on my inner world and the nature around me.
Did you go to art school/college or are you self-taught?
I have always wanted to express myself freely and thought that going to an art school would put me in some sort of a frame so I never attended. However, I was taking private lessons in drawing and painting for five years. I think this gave me a solid base.
How did your style evolve into Surrealism?
I realised that surrealism is the perfect tool for me, allowing me to freely share with people my passions, my dreams and beliefs – on the canvas. To me, surrealism, in art, is what progressive rock is in music. No rules and restrictions – only freedom of thought.
Looking back over your career to date, which piece are you most proud of and why?
It’s very difficult to say which painting is my favourite. But, “The Master“(oil on canvas, 60x40cm. 2020) is really something special for me. This painting is my way to show respect to the great Bulgarian spiritual Master – Peter Deunov (Beinsa Douno).
What one piece of advice would you offer to your fellow artists?
A wise man once said that the only difference between successful and unsuccessful artist is that the first one never gave up! These words have always helped me to carry on painting.
I was born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria. Under the influence of my artist uncle, I started painting from an early age. Initially, my art was inspired by nature and the warmth of the old Bulgarian houses. Later, as any young man, I felt rebellious and developed a passion for.. rock music and surrealism. I started painting professionally in 1992 and for the next 15 years was dividing my time between playing keyboards in a rock band and painting. I was exhibiting my art in a number of galleries in Bulgaria and most of my works are now part of private collections in various countries.
In 2007, I moved to London and currently live in the South West part of the city. I started painting again using my flat as a studio. My preferred media is oil on canvas and my style surrealism.
With my art, I am trying to bring out the beauty and delicacy of the world around us, and the magnificence of the human mind. I paint realistic features in an imaginary context. To me, there shouldn’t be any rules and restrictions in art, but only freedom of thought…