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Artist of the Week – Vasilena Slavova

November 15, 2010 by · 3 comments

Interview by Lyubka Daskalska with Vassilena Slavova

“The Creative Process…
CREATE! I can feel the freedom and creativity all around me. Of course, it’s never easy. Never think negatively and never give up. Draw, doodle, illustrate, animate, make films and the world will be a better place.” (


Young and confident, Vasilena Slavova is making her way as a Bulgarian-born artist in the creative atmosphere in Chicago, Illinois. She has a wide range of interests and expressions: motion graphics, animation, design, and illustration. Graphic designer and animator, born in and graduated from a high school in Sofia, Bulgaria, Vassi moved to the United States to pursue her love – animation. The 25-year-old artist will always reach to Bulgaria for inspiration and a reality check.

She has being recognized as an exceptional artist from the very beginning. She received a half tuition scholarship at MIAD, the art college in Milwaukee, WI, where she started as an international student six years ago and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in 2008. During the four years of study she was known for her sharp and vivid expression using different media and techniques.



She created graphics, oil paintings, time-based media, and many other projects as a student while working hard on her thesis and portfolio. Even in difficult times, she believes that art, like medicine, can help to prevent and heal low morale. She assisted twice in film making, and both works were winning films at the Milwaukee 48 Hour Film Festival (“Back Woods” and “Weeds”). Both were shown at Cannes Film Festival in France.


“Cousins” 2005

Her sketchbook is always with her whether in the subway, on the table at the coffee shop, or in her suitcase when she travels. Many of her characters are born, and stay there, until they can be united in her future films.



She works now as a designer/animator in a downtown Chicago company and in her free time creates patterns and images for letterpress invitations and cards as a production artist for
Other creations from Vassi you can see on her website and blogs: ; doodles;– drawings, patterns;– motion graphics.


“Brussels” 2006

What was the first time you imagined that your childhood dream of being an artist could become a reality?

For the first time, I actually thought about art as a career when I was in 7th grade. I was always concerned about taking the right path and what my future would be if I continued drawing. I always wanted to keep drawing. My family helped me with that decision by encouraging me, and since then I always knew that was the right direction. Art was my life.


What makes someone an artist?

The need to create something that comes from inside makes a person an artist. For me, I believe the need to create and not being able to live without creating art makes me an artist. I’ve experienced times that kept me away from my art, and I didn’t feel myself. Something is missing when I don’t get to spend some time on my doodles or illustrations for a while.



When did you believe that you are good at what you do?

I believed that I was somehow good when my family gave me positive feedback and compliments on my paintings and drawings that I did in my free time. I remember I was always drawing and re-drawing from books or nature. I knew that practicing was the key to becoming a better artist, which was something I wanted so badly.

What inspires you?

First, I have to be positive and make myself believe that things are possible. Then my mindset is in a completely different level and I can release my creative energy on a piece of paper, canvas, or by using digital media. Imagine if I was all negative and always thought that whatever I decided to draw would look bad. Why would I even bother to do it? So my biggest philosophy about inspiration is the mindset.

Very inspirational are the other artists surrounding me. They are my friends or randomly found through internet research that I do sometimes. It’s important for artists to be in touch and exchange ideas or discuss matters. I believe that when artists support each other working in a group, they become, at the same time, competition for each other. When there is a group of artists, it’s more likely for them to be inspired by each other and create more.



How does art help to overcome pressure on a personal or social level?

It’s simple. Art is a tool which helps you release what is bothering you by taking your attention in a different direction. In another case, it might concentrate your attention to the problems so you can represent the tension through a drawing and get over with it. It works like medicine. I’ve noticed that it helps me because I am much more focused on the creative process of something. There are many pieces of art that represent a personal matter and artists that paint or draw things that are important in their life just because that helps them to either overcome a problem or turn it over to an inspiration.

Do you believe that people need art?

If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be an artist. I have the need to create art, and at the same time, I want my art to be seen and make people experience emotions while looking at it. People need art because that makes the area they live in better, hence their moods better and their lives better. The world is better with art. It would be a very sad place if there was no art – painting, drawing, music, dancing, singing, cooking, fashion, etc. Art is needed and art is everywhere.


“Self Portrait”

Is the art piece a child of the artist or the public?

I believe it is mine. I created it and I consider it mine, but I let other people look and appreciate it.

We know that the destiny of the artist is extremely tough but also no one is a prophet in his country. What is the mission of the young people that leave their home country and start a life in a new one?

I can’t talk about all young people out there, but I can say that my mission first of all is to be happy and feel good in the place that I am at. I call only one place “home” and this is Bulgaria. At this time I feel comfortable here in the United States and am very happy. My mission is to be a good artist and represent my country, which I miss every day, in the better possible way.

I believe that I never present Bulgaria in a bad way because I am a hard worker and a talented person. I wish and hope things for Bulgaria to become better and artists to be more appreciated there. I hope they are much more appreciated than I was because that was one of the biggest reasons to I decided to study in a different country.

What are you afraid of?

My biggest fear is that living so far away from my family, who I love so much, is making me miss a lot of things with them. That’s why I try my best to go visit Sofia, Bulgaria as much as possible.

What makes you happy?

Love. Family. My Art. Music. The simple things in life make me happy. I don’t need a big house or expensive dinners. I think that simplicity in life is the hardest to get. A bike ride by Lake Michigan makes me happy. A glass of wine makes me happy. I think about myself as a happy person now.

“Vassi`s Logo”

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