I have always sought the need to find a medium through which I could better capture and share concepts, philosophical ponderings, and ideas of and about humanity. The aesthetic, memorable and universal language of the visual arts have certainly provided me with a medium to reflect and share such ideas – hoping to open up a conceptual palette to the world.
The topics that have inspired me deal directly with my upbringing and observations of human interactions and simply ‘what it means to be human’ in different parts of the world. I was born in Bulgaria, in a period of transitional politics and shifting social and cultural dynamics. While I grew up in the populous capitol of Sofia and moved to the United States at an early age, I longed to spend the long summer months in the cool shadows of the Bulgarian mountains. As a child, I spent some of the most memorable years in the country-side, cared for by my grandparents and surrounded by cousins and relatives who drowned each moment in tradition, ceremonies and rituals – inspired by folklore, paganism and their understanding of Orthodox Christianity. This is where, my curiosity was nurtured and I wanted to capture every moment, relation, expression and conviction that relate the human soul in its complexity.
As any other child, I loved to paint and dream; though my serious art involvement started at the age of ten when, thanks to my mother’s efforts, I became a private student of a distinguished Bulgarian artist – Valeri Vassilev. Developing as an artist since then, I had the privilege to study under esteemed professors at the Art Academy in Sofia, where I acquired the principles of the “Eastern Art School” and art institutes in the United States, which enhanced my curiosity for the conceptual.
Carrying the principles of the ‘Eastern Art School’ with me as I matured into American culture enabled me to develop a rich kaleidoscope of ideas, questions and critical perspective about humanity that I wanted to relate through art. I attended courses at The Art Institute of Chicago, Florence Scuola Lorenzo de’ Medici, Kansas City Art Institute and Houston Museum of Fine Arts. It has been an honour to have my paintings exhibited in the Capitol of Washington D.C., the Capitol Building in Topeka and galleries and schools within the United States.
While the visual arts have always been an important language for me, I pursued studies in the social sciences to give me answers, career in policy to have impact and chose philosophy as core subject that has grounded all my latest works. I’ve always argued against the technical emphasis of arts programmes, which impoverishes learners in developing a richer conceptual palette that could be gained from studying philosophy, history and the humanities. Art depicts, narrates and advances ‘what it means to be human’ and therefore artists need to be scientists, thinkers, historians, and critical storytellers not simply great technicians.
Therefore, studying philosophy and being a social scientist has advanced my thinking about art/through art; and experimenting with medium has given me the freedom to relate the conceptual, not the other way around. I continue to experiment with different mediums and styles, as I believe that an artist shouldn’t be defined by a ‘trademark’ or a particular consistency in style, but by the ability to depict and relate ideas and concepts in a powerful way to the rest of society – for this is the value of art in my opinion.
I have here captured my humble art collection and hope to take you on a journey.