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Artist of the Week – Yordan Tachev

October 5, 2011 by · 2 comments

An Interview with Artist and Sculpturer Yordan Tachev by Jasmina Tacheva


Yordan Tachev: “Art is not just a way to escape reality; it’s a way to transform it and enjoy living in it instead of avoiding it.”

Did you decide to become an artist, or did art choose you?

Some people have a gift, but don’t nurture it, and as the saying goes – you use it or you lose it. Of course you have a choice – you can either develop your talent or you can give it up, but once you decide to become an artist, your entire life changes and you become different from everybody else. For many it’s not a proper job, but just a waste of time. Actually it is an occupation just as real as engineering for instance – you have to practice it if you want to advance in it.


Did art determine your destiny?

As you go down the path of art, it takes over you – it’s not an ordinary job, it’s a philosophy, a way of life. Plus, you can’t just strip yourself of it at the end of the day. An accountant looks at the clock and says: “Thank God, it’s 5 p.m., I can go home now!”; an artist peeps at his watch and says: “Oh my God, it’s 5 p.m. and I haven’t started drawing yet!”. In other words – artists don’t have working hours; they don’t simply go home and forget all about their “occupation”. It’s just not possible, you can’t separate your artistic self from your real self, they are one and the same! Art changes your whole perspective of the world – the goal of the artist is to see things other people tend to ignore, draw them and open people’s eyes to them.


What is the relationship between art and the artist? How do they interact?

Art is a tough teacher, extremely wise but at the same time awfully demanding. You have to have guts to pass its “course”, otherwise you can easily fail it. There have been many times when I have asked myself in despair: “Should I really carry on, it’s just too frustrating – the gap between the image of what I want to draw in my mind and the actual outcome is enormous!”, but the answer is always the same: There are so many new things waiting to be discovered, learned and grasped. This is what keeps me going, really.

To me, the greatest beauty of art is that it requires you to make use of all your senses – first you see something you consider interesting; then this image is transferred to your mind where it’s made sense of and evaluated, and finally it travels all the way from there through your arm, hand and fingertips to the canvas – back to the outside world where it belongs.


This is basically how art changes you. But you’re inevitably changing it too – young artists are encouraged to imitate the great masters in order to acquire a better technique. However, no matter how good of an “imitator” you are, you are bound to leave your own mark, your own signature in your work, because we are all different and unique. There are, of course, professional imitators, but to be one of them, you have to get into the artist’s mind and grasp how he or she decides what line to draw, what color to use, etc.


Can a parallel between art and foreign languages be drawn, in the sense that in both you inevitably “speak” with an accent unless you try really hard to disguise it? And in this regard, do you think Americans notice the Bulgarian “accent” of your works?

Yes, they do. The themes of my works are different from the conventional American idea of art and rather than conceal this contrast, I try to enhance it.


So every country has its own art just like it has its own language?

Pretty much, yes. The grammar is the same, it’s universal – form, color, play of light and shadow. This is the foundation every work rests upon – American, Bulgarian or Nigerian. And yet the pronunciation and the vocabulary are quite different. American art makes a great use of “pyrotechnics” – it has to be explosive, bombastic and contagious, that’s how I see it. It was no coincidence that pop art was born here. It manifests its philosophy by means of a revolutionary protest and imposing installations that can envelop you in their grandeur.


Bulgarian art on the other hand, as it appears to me, is something we all together, as a nation, carry in our “volksgeist”; it’s as pure and spontaneous as a casual talk between friends. Every art rests upon roots – cultural, historical and aesthetic. We’ve been around as a nation for more than 1300 years and even before that a great deal of civilizations had bequeathed their culture and traditions to us, so I want to expose these unique “roots” our country is endowed with and not to suppress them.

Have you ever wanted to take a break from art?

Art is the greatest rest for me; it’s the perfect form of meditation. It’s not just a path to the world outside of you, it’s a way to your own soul. In fact, I think that the greatest artists, writers and all kinds of performers are precisely those people who can most efficiently interact with the bottom of their souls, their subconscious. It’s the greatest treasury of ideas, impressions and inspiration there is if you only know how to unlock it. Burroughs’ key to it was heroin; Jules Paskin’s – hashish. Mine is getting up early, around 4 a.m., when everyone is still asleep, and my senses are just starting to wake up. It’s the perfect time for writing, drawing, and creation of any nature, because your body is in that amazing border state between sleep and wakefulness where even the boldest whims of your imagination seem possible.


Is your art a way to critique today’s society or rather a form of admiration for the diversity and beauty of our world?

It may be both or it may be neither. Every work of mine tells a story – the story of my soul in the moment of its creation. Thus, some works convey utter joy, and others are expressions of anger, fear or despair. One thing I know for sure though – art is not just a way to escape reality; it’s a way to transform it and enjoy living in it instead of avoiding it. So be zen and creative!




Photos: Yordan Tachev
Music: Stefan Valdobrev

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