“Never trust a happy artist.”
Q: How did you decide to open a gallery?
A: Well, when I was a student at the University of Tarnovo, I wanted to create a space for alternative activities. We had them, but they were very scattered, so I wanted to create a place where the artist can transform the space around them, which is something that has been lacking in traditional galleries. I’ve tried persuading national galleries to show temporary exhibitions that briefly display something that’s later entirely removed. They gave me the cold shoulder, saying that’s not practiced anywhere else. And I said, “Well, I will make a gallery where that’s mandatory”. With the help of friends, I found this fantastic place, and I kickstarted it in July last year.
Q: Wouldn’t that be a cool archaeological project? In two thousand years it would be a neat task for future archeologists.
A: We have talked about this before: to brush off different layers from the wall to show the exhibitions through time. So far, there aren’t that many exhibitions, but I hope with time we’ll get there. Our end goal is not so much painting, as the transformation of the space in the gallery, so every exhibition can be molded exactly for the exhibition halls.
Q: In Fine Graff Art, you talk about the presence and absence of man in nature.
A: Why yes! This could be observed in what I do since I rarely draw human figures and focus on objects that are in some way connected to one’s life story. Objects that you find in nature—found, lost, or deserted. That’s exactly how I want to depict the presence of man: he has left something behind but is absent from the picture.
Q: Why Impressionism?
A: Maybe because, just like graffiti, impressionism is a form of protest against realism, if I am correct. Just like in impressionism, I like to work with bold moves and not get caught up in details. I am stoked on emotion, although I do bring form to my paintings. And I am definitely inspired by impressionist authors such as Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Monet; their way of expression and visual energy are very close to my vision. And, for better or worse, I went in and out of graffiti circles that “spilled” their technique into my impressions of art. It’s curious to see the way it works for other authors. And in the meantime, you get influences from elsewhere, and then it becomes really interesting how one can blend everything together without turning it into kitsch.
Q: What makes you happy in art?
A: When it’s really obvious when something is created with very pure energy. Everything I’ve learned from my teachers is that there are certain methodical techniques that can be objectively valued, but there is a sense of aesthetics that can’t be observed in every painting. I am trying to trust my gut; I don’t know how correct it is, everyone has their own sense that’s true in its own right. I am happy when something grabs my eye that harmonically combines aesthetics with technique. Just like everything in life, there should be a balance between what you feel and what you learn.
Q: From your bio, I thought nature played a big role in your life.
A: Yes, absolutely! That’s why I’ve chosen Tarnovo as my location, because nature is accessible and I can visit it often. I draw lots of flowers and keep a lot at home. I find lots of truths in nature, and they’re often right in front of me—every key to a locked door is encoded in nature. From even the most basic things—that you can’t have black without white—to more profound subjects. Everything is given in nature and could be uncovered in very basic ways, like when you walk in the forest.
Q: Do you think that we are trying to transform and tamper with nature way too much?
A: Transform… yes. We do overcomplicate it, and that mainly stems from our overconsumption, and, you know, this type of consumption is the culprit of pollution, which is not sustainable in itself. Overall, it comes from us. We create problems that require solutions, and then these solutions bring their own problems, which require their own solutions, so we really are making it more difficult than it really is.
Q: Are you afraid for the future of nature?
A: Not really, because I believe that our planet will find balance and turn the tide in its favour. Even if it’s not radical, this change will happen in one way or another. We can’t run away from nature’s equilibrium. Nature has its processes that… I don’t know. It’s a curious question.
Q: How does an artist deal with modern issues – in and outside of art?
A: I have self-programmed myself to believe that sometimes you get blessings in disguise, and that’s even found in nature – when a tree dies, it becomes an ecosystem for other species. This can be viewed in light of other things – every quotidian problem brings you to another solution. I am particularly grateful that whatever we, as people, do or experience, humankind is generally happy; people carry more smiles than frowns. That’s how I see it. We know that we’ll eventually die, but none of us are going around all gloomy and miserable. We still celebrate life and that’s evidence that we collectively share a positive outlook on life. Don’t get me wrong – I am not looking at life through rose-tinted glasses and I do get depressed quite a bit, but for an artist that’s often an opportunity to create great things. This may contradict what I’ve just said, but I hope you understand where I am going with this – never trust a happy artist.
Organically generated text by Simeon Cherepov