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Artist of the Week — Mariana Kalycheva

October 26, 2009 by · 3 comments

Galina Dzendova’s interview with Mariana Kalycheva
Translation: Mira Dimova

Mariana Kalycheva’s Paintings – Colourful, Emotional, Precise

Mariana Kalycheva

I met Mariana while waiting at the ticket-office at the airport in Sofia, where the overload baggage was to be declared. I knew she was fond of art before she told me anything about herself.

Her smile hinted her emotions, passions, magic, and mystery. I saw an immense human soul in her eyes. Hers is a universe of images, details and colours—within her there are great depths, but there is also about her a sense of ease.

How do you define art?

Art is meant to be a gift of beauty and pleasure to people. We have the need for this, whether we know it or not. Art is the thread binding monotony, boredom in work and every day matters with an elevation of emotions. Art is subtlety which completes you when you are sad, joyful, with friends, or alone in the arms of the day—and these are always the same.


When and how did you discover that art, painting in particular, is essential to you?

Every child draws. This is their way of responding to the world around them, reproducing it, even unconsciously. This was how I began. When I grew up I realized I could easily reach what I wanted through painting. What is more, painting is a great pleasure for me, especially when I feel uneasy.

Painting has always been essential to my life. In the past I often had other occupations, but I soon vacated them all because I felt suffocated due to lack of freedom and time to paint. Thus, I decided I would dedicate my life to painting! This is my fortune.


What does painting mean to you?

Painting is a sort of magic, as if you are a wizard, but instead of herbs you have colours, where you mix this one with so many others. Or your painting treasures a peculiar mood, idea, or impression. When you paint you unleash your emotions. You can hide neither your sorrow, nor your delight.

Painters are very emotional. They are very bizarre, not ordinary at all. They are impressed by things other people would not notice. Painting is a whirlwind of pleasure – and you should be careful how you deal with these pleasures.

S dyh na maslini
Mit Olivengeruch

I find in your paintings something in common with the style of the famous Austrian painter Gustav Klimt. What also impresses me are the Bulgarian ethnic motifs: cats and the beauty of women. Tell me about your muses and those things and moments that inspire you—how a painting is born?

In my earlier works one could find a resemblance between Gustav Klimt’s paintings and mine. Now they could easily find a resemblance with those of Modiliani, Picasso and Paul Gauguin, for example… The truth is that every painter deeply admires painters from the whole history of art.

Then time passes by and the painter wakes up with a different point of view. He or she finds his/herself once more and decides to change his/her style. This change is a wonderful moment, which shows development. There is nothing as boring as a painter who paints the same things all the time.

I paint cats because I really love them. Cats symbolize grace, skill, cunning, delicacy and insight. The women I paint symbolize the same. Why do I paint women? Maybe because I find myself in them, with all my significant, very cheerful and somewhat sad stories or experiences.

My muses come and go before I become conscious of them. I have noticed special influences from having worked now for 13 years. The more I travel and people I meet, the more impressions I gather. Afterwards ideas come to life and in the end the painting is created. The painting could be some vision in my mind, but it could also collect ideas accumulated in time and it could be born after a long time of thinking and working.

A painting could be finished in a few seconds, hours, months or even years. For example, I needed three years away from a painting until I could go back and finish it. This painting is named, “The Cat Called Vasko.” I also have a painting I painted in a few hours.

Koteto Vasko
Der Kater Vasko

Where do you paint?

I paint in my studio in my house that I rent in my hometown of Plovdiv. The South view to the river Maritza is very nice and warm. I live by myself and nothing pleases me so much as to paint as much as I want, whenever I want.

What do you say to yourself when the muse has abandoned you for a while?

I say to myself, everything will be all right. There were times when the only salvation I could find was in a wonderful book, sport or a walk with friends.

Damata s grozdeto
Die Dame mit den Weintrauben

Which of your paintings do you like the most and why?

It would be hard for me to point out just one as the one I love the most. I’d prefer to name a few of them.

The Tree of Desires – I would pay special attention to this one. I painted it for myself. I look at these three apples and imagine every one of them, falling from the tree, being a fulfilled desire of mine. And the shade of that fertile tree has sheltered love.

Other paintings I would like to mention are: With the Breath of Olives; Maria; The Town that Sleeps; Orange City; Fragrant; The Woman with the Grape… All these paintings have sealed hopes, fulfilled or newborn dreams of mine.

Spiastiat grad
Die schlafende Stadt

What does exhibiting mean to you? Is it hard to find a way to exhibit your work in Bulgaria?

An exhibition means months of work. In such periods I am deprived of many things, especially when I am short on time. I am deprived of going out, drinking with friends, long journeys and meetings… it is hard to find your field and to exhibit, especially when you begin your work. While I am not at the beginning, I am a young painter. Sometimes the world is really cruel! And pragmatic.

What do your friends find precious in you?

My friends like me the way I am. They appreciate my joyful spirit, funny stories, sincerity, and peculiar character. They like the smiles I give from my pleasure basket.

What do you dream of?

I dream of lavender fields, a studio on the seashore in a quiet Italian town, a lot of friends in my home. I dream of travelling the world and having exhibitions. I dream of leaving a rich cultural inheritance to my children and friends.

Дървото на желанията
Der Baum der Wünsche

Mariana, thank you so much! I hope all of your dreams come true.

You can take pleasure in the paintings of Mariana, full of elegance, here:

Mariana Kalycheva snimka

Mariana Kalycheva was born on the 9th of June, 1977, in Plovdiv, and graduated with a degree in Graphic Arts in 2003 from the Academy of Music, Dance, and Fine Arts in Plovdiv. She has exhibited both locally and nationally. In 2003 she was nominated for the “Young Artist” prize, awarded by the Association of Painters of Plovdiv. Her work is held by collectors locally as well as abroad. She lives and works in Plovdiv.

Categories: Frontpage · Visual Arts



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