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Artist of the Week – Silvia Pavlova

October 11, 2010 by · 2 comments

Interview by Petia Kolencova with the artist Silvia Pavlova
Translation from Bulgarian: Yana Radilova


Silvia Pavlova: My eyes are eager for colours

There is one night when Plovdiv changes and art is scattered on the streets. I mean the traditional art meeting “Night of museums and galleries – Plovdiv”.

It was one of these nights when I saw Silvia Pavlova for the first time – it was in 2008. She was showing her work at the Old City`s gallery “Revival”. A year later she was colouring a silk scarf in the presence of all visitors of the gallery.

The way she used the brush roused great interest and people stopped to see her shining scarfs, which were lavishly showered with the most fascinating colours of Nature. Even in such a crowd, full of so many emotions, she managed to remain calm.

Yet the brush was moving slowly on the silk scarf, as if only Silvia and her colours were there. In her last exhibition we can also see a variety of different colours.

She gave it the name “Chests and music”. The colourful artist wanted to tell the readers of Public Republic about Nature, the mildness and strength of women, the treasure in Bulgarian-crafted chests and her vivid world.

You come from a creative family. Art for you is probably as natural as breathing…

That`s right. My father, Stoyan Pavlov-Liso, is a sculptor – graduated from the National Academy in 1971. He was in the class of Prof. Ilia Iliev. My mother was an arranger for “Balkantourist”. Our home has always been full with artists, dragons and Styrofoam snowflakes. I really don`t remember when I started to paint. I have been told that when I started to walk, I chose my mother`s old brush above all the colourful books and things. I suppose I haven`t let it go since then. In 2002 a gallery in Sofia risked making an exhibition with my works of art. It was succesful for me. I realized that my paintings are interesting to people. That encouraged me to keep my ambition. So I am still devoted to Art.


Your paintings and scarves express Nature – birds, fish, flowers. However, one of your main muses is female formy. When did you find that it is inspiring you to create?

My inspiration to create is generally caused by Nature. It always impresses me with its beautiful and exciting creations! Woman is certainly one of them. I have been painting women for many years – expressing their charm and passion, all the imperfect things that make them perfect, their ardour and caprice, strength and mildness… I still remember the first woman I drawed – not as a part of my education, but on impulse.

I was studying at the high school then and often sat against the Military Club. One day a lady attracted my attention – may be because of her silhouette or very long hair. It might be the angle of sunshine, her delicate wrists or the book she was reading that took my attention. I don`t know… Then I opened my diary and an image appeared on the pages with my weird poetry. From time to time, I used to see that lady. At first she was walking with a tall, handsome man, then she had a baby in her arms, later there was snow in her extremely long hair. I think every artist has such “moments” – they are compulsory if you have a sensitive soul and manage to “catch” the creations of Nature with eyes… No matter the place – you could sit in a calm glade, covered with daisies, at Iskar defile, or see the endless stream of people and colours at the centre of a big city. Inspiration will find you everywhere!

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Let`s talk about your last exhibition – “Chests and music”. Your intention was probably to show the most colourful contents of the Bulgarian chests, which keep our memory and traditions alive?

Yes. My last exhibition took place at the gallery “Revival” in Plovdiv, in January 2009. The year started great! The exhibition interested media and people even more than I thought. I was told that some residents of Pleven came to Plovdiv only to see my paintings. That was the most wonderful present for me! I am happy when people like what I do!

In this exhibition I wanted to use a tehcnique of collage, combining oils with textile. This method is really enjoyable and shows my inner world. I express myself better and more accurately, which gives me pleasure. “Chests and music” is my first confident step in painting. I succeeded in rendering all the feelings, colours, magic, memories, subjects that impress me. Folklore was perfectly suitable for the main theme. I tried to create modern paintings on the basis of folklore. I think I was successful and this idea will still interest me in the future, as this basis is boundless for me.

Is it easy to share your inner “invisible chest” with others?

I think so. I am quite outspoken and my “invisible chest” is perceptible even when it shouln`t be seen. Time will show whether it is fine or I will have to lock it in a cellar but this won`t be natural for me.

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Is it true that you listen to music when you paint?

Not only do I listen to music, but also dance when I paint! Well, before my brush reaches the canvas. That`s a part of creating the ideas. Music leads, spins around and scatters me, helping my mind to stray. It brings me to the Rhodopes, then throws me in India, afterwards we go to Russia in sock feet…we stay there a lot…

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…until we go to a funeral in Istanbul, where we listen to Kurdish songs. Suddenly some bulls appear and we already hear the wooden soles of Spanish dancers. Then we visit Romania, Africa, Armenia, where Teodosi Spasov performs, Portugal, Cuba, while my head swims and the painting is made. I paint not only images and colours but music – it has its own methods of drawing. I think we are a fantastic tandem!

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Your participation in the “Night of galleries and museums-Plovdiv” has been delighting visitors for three years in succession. Tell us about the way to the live exhibition in the gallery “Revival”.

For me, the gallery “Revival” is destiny. I saw the website of the gallery many years ago and then I thought it was a place for me. I supposed my skills would come up to their expectations. But I had never gone to Plovdiv. Four years ago I went there for the first time to take part in the art fair “Impression”. My first job was to see if the gallery which had fascinated me was also participating, but I couldn`t find it.

And then it was Krasi Aleksieva who found me, introduced me to her son Sim and invited me to make an exhibition in her gallery. That was so exciting! We`ve been working together and having a great time since then. They are incredible friends and organise the gallery`s participation in the “Night of galleries and museums”, where I show my paintings, very responsibly. I paint on silk in the presence of people, so as to give them the chance to see how a work of art is made.

It seems to me that people appreciate the thrill to be a part of the whole process. Every visit to the gallery is always pleasant and leads to positive meetings. They can expect my Fifth exhibition in September this year.

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Was turning the dress into a work of art the main reason for you to take up design?

Like Nature, clothes are my great passion. I love to paint, alter, sew, create them. Even when I was a first-grade pupil, my classmates knew I was going to become a designer because I used to draw princesses with wonderful colourful dresses. Then I was admissed to study “Textile and technology of clothing” at the school for applied art in Sofia.

There we learned to pay attention to the textile design and treatment, but I graduated with a small fashion collection which included three extraordinary dresses of painted textile and three-dimension wire elements. As a result, I studied scenography at NBU(New Bulgarian University).

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My job always includes clothes, textile, dresses. Now when I`m a designer for Radina fashion, I know a lot about store clothes. I make experiments with them. However, my biggest passion is vanguard fashion. I won in the National competition for young stylists and designers in the category “High and vanguard fashion” and I am working on a new project which will present this kind of art.

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Do you remember your first painting which was sold abroad? Please describe how you felt in that moment!

I remember that painting very well. I was still studying at school. A friend of mine introduced me to a Bulgarian who has been living in New York for many years. He was in Bulgaria then and came to see my paintings. I was really attached to one of them and he wanted to buy it. I told him it was not for sale.

He said that everything has its own value. I promised to put such a high price to it one day that nobody would like to buy it. He asked me what would be that price and I answered: “well, 500 dollars, may be.”

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He smiled and said this painting could cost 500 000 dollars, depending on who was the salesman and where it was sold. This impressed me much but also showed my absolute lack of marketing abilities. He didn`t give 500 dollars to it but bought another one the same size for 100 dollars. I don`t like selling my own paintings and give this job to professionals, but I still wait the moment when I will be paid for it 500 000 dollars!

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I wonder if these bright colours are always on your mind or only when you hold the brush ?

No, colours are always on my mind – in the paintings, silk scarfs, fashion sketches, clothes and jewellery. My eyes are eager for colours!

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If someone asks you to paint a picture or a scarf for him, but you don`t like his energy, what will be your reaction?

I have never experienced something like this. I don`t communicate with people who give bad energy to others and I never take up things which lack satisfaction. I take interest in my customers and express my mood to him. If you are not a positive peron, perhaps you will get quite a negative scarf or painting, if I manage to feel your energy, of course. But then you`d better buy some of my finished products, because their colours will make you happier.

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Silvia Pavlova was born on 13.11.1979 in Sofia. Now she lives and works there. A member of “Association of fashion and textile designers in BUlgaria”, she works as a designer for “Radina fashion” and is a freelance artist. In 1998 she graduated from “St.Luka” – school for applied arts in Sofia, completing the major “textile and technology of clothing”.

In 2006 she graduated from NBU, completing the major “Theatrical art” , and qualifies as a scenographer.

In 2005 she won first prize in the International “Rising fashion”, organised by “National Fashion Association” in Bulgaria. She also took part in fashion-reviews in BTA, Hilthon, Belgrade – organized by the Central European initiative. Se paints on textile and natural silk. Silvia takes part in the fashion-fair “Impression” in Plovdiv and has been having an exhibition during the “Nights of museums and galleries” in the gallery “Revival”, Plovdiv, for three years in succession. She has had four own exhibitions of paintings in Sofia and Plovdiv – the last one, “Chests and music”, is made by oils and textile.

Silvia Koleva also presents her works of art in collective exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad. As she took part in many national and international competitions, she won second prize in the National contest “Bulgaria as a part of the European puzzle”, organized to celebrate the admission of Bulgaria to EU in 2007. Her paintings are owned by many collectors in Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Canada, USA.
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