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I Dream to Keep Feeling

November 25, 2008 by · 1 comment

Interview with Artist Iliana Ivanova by Natalia Nikolaeva

After having presented a small virtual exhibition with paintings of the young artist Iliana Ivanova, I suggest that we try to see in my interview with her, her point of view about art and the meaning painting has in her life.

When and how did you discover painting as art and as an important part of yourself?

I have been painting since I was a child. I cannot recall the exact moment, I just always knew I would become a painter. At least this is what I said when I was asked. At first I did not put particular responsibility to my words but gradually I started taking them as my duty. And it seemed everybody expected it from me. I used to paint in a distinct way compared to other children and that was noticed.

Now, after years have passed, I guess painting actually helped me escape from my responsibilities. Probably from all the problems as well. It was very comfortable to close myself in my imaginary world instead of doing homework or reading the obligatory literature at school… I was always secretly scribbling something.

What are the favorite themes and motives of your paintings?

Themes that are close to the soul, things that are moving me presently, or in a certain period of my life…very often they are related to my state of mind, to my emotions. Trying to find myself, some peace, or to comprehend myself just a little bit…I am looking at myself, at the people around me (sometimes also more generally) and their relationships… I am trying to show the similarity of things…how everything is just the same looking from above just as it is down here.

How is a painting born?

A painting is born by starting it… this is the most important step for me.

Tell us more about your inspiration and the moments that evoke it.

Sometimes it is very hard… and I search for motivation. But once I have started, ideas just grow from each other. It is a kind of process in which, while working on one painting, I am already thinking about the next one. This makes me really keen on painting.

When I am in an emotional crisis, some love drama…I feel very much like working. Probably it’s my desire to close into myself.

What meaning does painting have for you?

When I hate it, because there are those moments also, I think that it has a higher meaning, other than just some stupid vanity…and the egocentric wish to show off. Thinking on this, without anger in myself, I consider it a part of the human constructive desire. Along with the other actions that one is doing in order to leave a mark on Earth. It is the wish for immortality, but maybe just stronger or expressed in a different way.

Is it difficult to find opportunities for artistic expression in Bulgaria?

It is difficult, but that’s how it is everywhere else, I think. In the end, the strong artists always succeed. There are a lot of old-time painters who still profit from their past success. Their work is being bought and advertised. In my opinion, people in Bulgaria do not possess good general knowledge in this field. For thousands of reasons. I don’t know a lot about things abroad, but as far as I have heard, there are many more competitions supported by local cultural organizations.

Are you afraid of the commercialization of art?

Yes, and I think that if I go on like this it will involve me as well, as I have less and less time for my own works. I keep finding excuses for myself that I have to earn some money first, that rent payment is closing…and then I go into cyclic production of landscapes (but they are something worth it, too, still better than decorating cakes in some poshed up establishment in Sofia with its absurd staff).

What are you dreaming of in professional and personal respect?

I am dreaming of a lot of nice things… that there are people like you. That there are people for whom I am important and appreciated. To keep feeling. To have a child…

Iliana Atanasova Ivanova was born in the town of Kavarna on 5.11.1978

In 1997 she graduated the Ilia Petrov High School for Fine Arts in Sofia.

In 2001 she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia with a bachelor’s degree in painting and 2003 she received her master’s degree.

She took part in the 11th Process-Space Festival in Balchik in August 2002, a couple of exhibitions, and a plain air workshop in Serbia in 2005.

She has done solo exhibitions in Kavarna (1996) and in Sofia (1997) at Foundation Sofia.

She took part in The Naked Body Workshop in 2002 and received the Fine Arts Academy The Naked Body award for figure study.

Two of the paintings of young artist Iliana Ivanova were published on the covers of books on psychoanalysis by Prof. Waldo Bernasconi, a Swiss psychotherapist who developed the Neo-Reichian Therapy, dealing with addictions and general psychoanalysis.

Translated from Bulgarian by Ellie Ivanova Ponti

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