Dimitar Kirov was one of the first artists who opposed the dogmatic art norms of socialist regime. In his work the real, tangible and subjective world coexists with history and mythology, universal and national motifs. The main subjects gravitate around music and ballet, burnt icons, historical and cultural strata, as well as his three favorite cities – Istanbul, Paris and Plovdiv. Istanbul because he was born there, and because, as he himself says, “It is infinitely beautiful, one of the most beautiful in the world”; Plovdiv where he spent his life; and Paris, for it has captured his heart.
Paintings by Dimitar Kirov are in private collections and exhibitions all over the world – Russia, Germany, Japan, Vatican and etc., his mosaics and frescoes can be seen in public buildings in major Bulgarian cities, and in his beloved Plovdiv there is even a square on his name.
Dimitar Kirov – cosmopolitan, bohemian, emblematic figure, citizen of the world.
Julian Messa defines his own style as poetic reality. As a medium he favours oil paint and has has put an effort in the past few years to liberate his palette from dark and heavy tones, trying to illuminate colours, and achieve the visual effect of stained glass. His work gravitates around reoccurring themes which are close to his heart, such as the sea and his favourite marine towns Nesebar and Venice; female beauty; stallions, as an incarnation of masculinity; and music. The strong influence of Thracian art is easily recognisable in his paintings, and was the source of his alias Messa – the founder of Nesebar. He believes Thracian art is the most valuable in our lands, still valid today, and sees himself as a follower of its ideas. He often looks for inspiration in the work of old masters – Michelangelo, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, etc. He strives to add as much colour into his work as possible, as well as to create the illusion of time moving, of a story the picture tells. The most important part of his creative process is the pencil sketch. In the morning he draws dozens of sketches, which he later scatters on the floor of the studio, and this is how the picture is born. Then comes oil, his favourite material, which in turn brings to the scene specific requirements and rules, working with and around them is like a dance between the artist and paints. Messa continues his work on the painting until his inner sense, self-criticism, and the time passing tell him that it is completed. His paintings have layers, some parts are left to look a bit unfinished, only a sketch, others – shimmering in colour. For him, a painting should be like a movie – a composition of light moments, action and drama. And a hint of unspoken excerpts – a gift to the imagination of the person who will bring the painting home, a step into the future. Because to finish a painting, to add every last touch, is to take the life out of it...
Julian Messa has had exhibitions in the USA, Belgium, France, Germany. His works are property of the National Art Gallery, Sofia, Museum “Ancient Nesebar”, private collections in Bulgaria, USA, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Spain, Portugal and Belgium.
Theodora Filipova works mostly with oil paint, but never misses the opportunity to experiment. She's developed a specific technique, combining paint and natural materials, like pebbles, shells, bits of beach glass, and etc. The result is bizarre reliefs, where the artist embeds both a piece of her heart and grain of our Earth– living matter entangled in art. This technique formed as a part of her quest to break the frame, to go beyond the constraints of a single style or art movement, beyond the personal frames one establishes in life and art. In her work she went through different stages of personal and professional growth. Her experience brought her to look for the philosophy of things, for something deeper, for other worlds, where she seeks light, joy and otherness that can charge us with the positive energy of love. She believes every painting is a flirt between the author and the picture, and she falls in love with each and every new canvas she creates. There is a silver thread that binds them together, and in the processes of painting she gives in her consciousness completely. Then she releases the piece, however difficult it may be. That's how her paintings become alive. Each one is a message seeking its recipient, its person. Because people need living art, they need colour, not just paintings to decorate their walls.
Teodora Filipova has a number of solo shows in Bulgaria and abroad, as well as appearances in mixed exhibitions. But she likes to say that it doesn't matter how many exhibitions you have, it matters how many people you reach, how many people you touch with your art.
Her canvases are rich in internal dynamics, saturated with messages and moods that capture your heart and bring it to a new and beautiful dimension.
Silvia Artamontseva works in various fields – advertising and book design, ceramics and painting. She experiments with different mediums and compositions in different techniques, watercolour, oil, pastel. She graduated ceramics and it remained her great love and preferred medium. Her experience with plastic arts inspired her to look for a new approach to painting as well – to seek unexpected techniques, to appreciate the joy of unexpected results, to develop her ideas in unexpected directions. Her paintings and collages represent her sense of the limits of the foreseeable and the infinity of the imagined. For the boundaries in which we feel comfortable in, and the desire to overcome those boundaries. The aspiration that moves man forward – in science and in art, that brings renewal, gives meaning to life. Therefore, in her work, she seeks out the new, the unexplored – both as a message and as a means of expression and techniques.
Sylvia Artamontseva dreams of her paintings before painting them, and believes that they are as much her work, as a gift from the Creator. In them, she explores the invisible worlds between people, seeks out what connects and brings us together, material and spiritual.
Gancho Karabadzhakov specializes in figural painting and monumental arts. His style is easily recognisable through the vibrant, fresh colours, cheerful moods and universal themes. Whether he recreates everyday and erotic stories, typical for the Balkan peoples, or biblical and historical scenes, he does it with a mild and unobtrusive grotesque. He approaches his paintings as a narrator, telling playful stories about well composed moments in time, brought to life with attention to detail. His characters – men, women, children, dogs, cats and goats – are in constant rotation throughout original compositions, they love each other and enjoy life outside of time and space; and his backgrounds are moving in their simplicity.
Gancho Karabadzhakov has more than fifty solo exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad, and his work is recognised in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Turkey, Greece. His art brings to life a bright and kind world, full of love, entangled in sweet stories about love, wanderlust, celebrations, gatherings and partings.
Ralitsa Burova specialises exclusively in painting and icon painting. In her creative work she seeks beauty, romance, things which are visible only with the heart, the invisible and the unspoken, the mystery of the Sacrament of Life in its full palette of colours. Her paintings are a composition of soul sounds in all possible tones – from the quiet mumbles of contemplation to the exalted exultation of the beauty of life.
Her aesthetic disposition comprises the immensity of the sea, unfamiliar horizons and spaces, the sunset and sunrise, moons, stairs to other worlds, the unsolved mystery of our existence. As well as love and human relationships with their entire palette of colours and hues, and a soundtrack of JAZZ – the other cosmos that provokes self-expression, revealing the soul and seeking answers and beauty. Her paintings vibrate with optimism and irrepressible romance.
Her works are owned by private collectors in the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Japan, France, Finland, USA and more.
Plamen Sabev is a professional icon-painter, calligrapher and designer. In his work he uses hand-picked wood, primer, high quality gold, and paints with binding agent fig milk and egg yolk. The varnish he uses is also hand made after an old recipe using natural resins.
Plamen Sabev's compositions are distinguished by their thoroughly interwoven conceptual messages – a distant echo of the wisdom of the past, with respect for the traditions and canons of the Orthodox Church. The combination of warm and cool colours, in unionwith gold and delicate details is particularly impressive. He's painted reproductions of a number of popular icons – “Virgin of Tenderness“, “Resurrection of Christ”, “Christ – The True Vine”. He is also the author of not thatwell-known plots from Orthodox history. As an experienced researcher in the history of ecclesiastical arts, he draws from the past and gives new life to interesting plots such as the illustrations from “Apocalypse”, “The Seven Sorrows of Mary”, “The Visionof Saint Pachomiusthe Great”, “The Wheel of Life” (based on a 1632 mural in the Nativity of Jesus Church is Arbanasi, Bulgaria).
Plamen Sabev is an expert in identification and registration of cultural values, such as icons, murals, woodcut prints, manuscripts. He is an art professional and author of more than 50 papers and two monographs on old churches and monasteries and their cultural value. His works are part in prestige collections in Belgium, France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Russia. He has three solo exhibitions and participation in numerous mixed shows.
Dimka Stavreva works in the field of painting, her preferred technique being oil on canvas. She lives and works in the Bulgarian city of Blagoevgrad. She graduated the class of Prof. Ignat Ignatov in Blagoevgrad and is a member of UBA.
Dimka Stavreva has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions and en plein airs. She has won awards at the National Yablena Art Exhibition, Botevgrad, a first award at the Spring Salon Award Show, Gabrovo, as well as the Struma Zone Exhibition Award.
Svetozar Arnaudov is a classic marine painter and his preferred technique is oil on canvas. His fascination with fine arts started from an early age, and he had a number of solo exhibitions in his youth. An unfavourable turn of events has put a halt on his love of painting and for 40 years he had not touched the brush and paint. He remained in touch with the world of art, but only as a bystander and collector. A few years ago on his birthday, he received a set of paints, brushes, a tripod and canvas, and the inspiration built-up and stored over the years flooded his soul and captivated his mind. He left his positions in serious business and devoted himself solely to painting. He adores the sea, it recharges and inspires him, and that is why the sea is all he ever draws. That is why he left the capital of Bulgaria Sofia and moved to live at the coast in Burgas. He paints spontaneously, sometimes starting one story, one painting, and ending something completely different. As he draws, he moves into the painting, as if he were there, in the sea, immersed in reality – he sees where the light comes from, feels the waves and wind, hears the screams of seagulls. That's what makes his landscapes so vibrant and realistic.
Svetozar Arnaudov believes that talent requires hard work, so he constantly paints and draws. In addition to fine arts, he has an affinity for poetry and organises the National Poetry Contest “The Sea inside of Me”. Since resuming work as an artist two years ago, he already has had a solo exhibition in Athens and an upcoming exhibition in Berlin.
Ivaylo Pashkulsky specialises in painting on wood, graphic drawing and water colour painting; as well as wood sculptures, ceramics and stone modelling. His sculptures are created completely by hand, polished without emery or abrasive, and are painted with acrylic paints. Once seen, they live in one's mind not so much as sculptures, but as stone and wooden paintings, totems emanating magic chants and parables. His style is unique and easily recognisable, the themes are existential and gravitate around love, masculinity and femininity, the relationships between people and humanity as a cosmic entity.
Ivaylo Pashkulsky has been nominated by the “Who is Who” Cambridge International Biography Institute and is listed in the Institute's catalogues. In 1992, he was nominated for the Cambridge Young Artist Achievement in 20th Century Art Award. His paintings and sculptures are owned by various collectors in England, USA, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Greece and more.
Sylvia Ilkova specialises in applied arts. Currently she works mainly in ceramics and glass. She began her creative career designing and crafting dolls and toys, and later worked in clothes design. She was a producer, screenwriter and designer on a popular Bulgarian children TV show called“Cracked Pot”. Her fascination with fused glass started while on vacation in Venice. Back home, she ordered made the special furnace she needed to try working with glass, and ever since that moment her imagination and talent have been captured by the magic of glass. Painting with glass is a challenge to the artist's patience and imagination, like a mosaic with an unknown end. The process starts with the idea for the project, then comes cutting the sheets of coloured glass into pieces, and arranging them into a picture. The finished mosaic is baked, and then comes the most difficult and exciting part – waiting for the piece to cool down in the oven. The colours change, the bits of glass blend together, and the end result always hides surprises.
Sylvia Ilkova fancies the challenge of working on mirrors, turning them from а commodity into something more, into an ornament, a decoration.
Although she sometimes does framed pieces, Sylvia Ilkova prefers to use the freedom that glass offers and go beyond the limits, keep the irregular shape. The subjects that intrigue her most are flowers, peculiar fish, various bugs and lizards, all shapes that spill into space and, hung in the right place, allow light to give them the finishing touch, to transform them from a static art form into something alive that must have been moving a moment ago but probably just froze when it saw us.
Silvia Ilkova has a number of mixed and solo exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad. She works on individual customer orders for decorative interior and exterior elements of fused glass and wrought iron.
Christo Christov creates monumental bronze sculptures and paintings. The stylistics, aesthetics and cultural dimensions of his art are multilayered, free from conventions and limitations. His works are captivating, with a typical and recognisable style influenced by ancient reliefs and Orthodox Christian traditions. The figurative language of his sculptures and paintings is distinguished by enigmatically refined images, signs, codes and reliefs. In his work, Christo Christov is often moved by the life of Man – the main character of his art. The figure, stylised and reformed in his signature manner, reveals the aspirations of Man, the dreams and desires, the joy of life and movement. His sculptures are charged with energy and pathos, emphasising the primacy of his favourite material – bronze. The artist creates an impressive gallery of expressive images with monumental, modern feeling.
Since 1997 Christo Christov has been crafting the annual Sports Icarus award-statuettes for the Bulgarian Sport Foundation, and his sculpture “Higher than the Sun” has become the emblem of the Golden Sands Resort in Bulgaria. He crafts the statuettes for the award-winners in the European Basketball Federation (FIBA), and the awards of the Spartak Basketball Club in Moscow. The sculptures for the International Fighting Federation (FILA) are also his work.
Christo Christov has dozens of successfully implemented projects in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, France, Norway and Bulgaria. In his sculptures an art connoisseurs will discover a whole universe of semiotic mysteries with deep and ancient roots and modern, understandable interpretation.
Miglena Petrova has a degree in economy, however she's turned her hobby into a dream reality – she creates jewellery and makes people happy doing it, together with her husband Tsvetomir.
She started making jewellery from flowers and resin just 10 years ago and in 2019 got an award for Best Innovative Product at the Plovdiv Fair. Her jewels are created with talent, fantasy and hard work. Each piece is unique and is the product of a long and complicated process of crafting – from planting and caring for the flowers, to sustentance of the colours, polymer treatment, crystal resin, polishing, grinding, design, and a complete overview of the idea, to a photoshoot and marketing.
The jewels of Megan Flower are created for real connoisseurs of the beauty of nature and hand crafting!
Yonka Nurkova specialises in design and jewellery making. She works mainly with crystals and semi-precious stones and jewellery wire.
In the pieces she makes she incorporates stones with unusual shape and colour, making the stone a bearer of good energy and an eye-catching accent to any style.
In her work she puts design first as she often combines semi-precious stones, glass and metal. Her jewellery, made with much love and positive vibrations, can complete any outfit perfectly.
Hristina Etarska loves to create beauty with her hands. She prefers natural materials, however sometimes she is inspired in other directions, often connected with recycling something old and making it new. In the last few years she has had amazing fun making jewellery from cinnamon sticks and dried lavender, book covers and games with sea pebbles. She loves black & white photography, quiet music, nice tea and fragrances. She can get carried away photographing local places and people. When she is not on the move she wanders around Sofia and when that is not the case, she is everywhere – making ideas become reality, saving turtles, searching for wild horses, dreaming.