Monday, March 19, 2007

Art Space Talk: Stephan Vladov

I recently interviewed artist Stephan Vladov. Mr. Vladov is a sculptor from Bulgaria. Stephan is known for the traditional methods he applies when creating his bronze sculptures. Critics have noted that his work is 'full of movement'.

Mr. Vladov's work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in private collections throughout the world. He is currently represented by George Iliev- who helped in the translation process.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "I have always loved to paint – ever since I was a child – and my family has always backed me up in this. After I finished my secondary school education I was in a dilemma whether to go for figurative-art or architecture. I chose figurative-art."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "In order to become a member of the Club of Young Artists and later a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists I had to put up with participation in dozens of strictly thematic exhibitions – all influenced by the then socialist culture of my country."

Q. On average, how long does it take you to create a piece?

A. "Usually it takes me at least 3 weeks to create one of the smaller sculptures. The bigger ones require more time – it all depends on the dimensions and the complexity of the sculpture."

Q. Can you share some of your philosophy about art and artistic creation?

A. "Before I create a sculpture I first create it in my mind. Then I try to sketch the idea of it on a piece of paper. Then what follows is purely technical procedures."

Q. What was your most important exhibition? Care to share that experience?

A. "All of my exhibitions are equally important to me as they all reflect a period in my life."

Q. Do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?

A. "The only ritual that I follow is to turn the music on when I enter my studio. Music helps me get in a "creative" mood."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "I can’t think of any specific characteristics…as a whole these are people that like my style of artistic vision, like art and…have the necessary financial means."

Q. Discuss your work. What are you thinking when you create?

A. "When I create a sculpture I use my life experience, my memories of what I have seen and lived through. I try to rethink these and incorporate them in my works. Often I try to use humor in my sculptures – sometimes more openly, in other times more concealed humor. I don’t like to photographic accuracy, I stylize the figural compositions thus reaching almost geometrical forms. I believe that movement is what lies in the foundation of any sculpture – I hate when art is static."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how did it help you as an artist? What can you tell us about the art department that you attended?

A. "I have a degree in sculpture from the University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Especially important for me were the lessons in technological skills. All the rest is up to artistic challenge and lots of hard work."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "Almost all of my sculptures are made of bronze. I like this material as it gives me more flexibility of expression, it is more vital and allows for a higher degree of movement in the constructional decisions."

Q.Where can we see more of your art?

A. "A small part of my works is available here: "

Q. What galleries have you exhibited in?

A. "I have exhibited in private and state galleries in Bulgaria and abroad – in Canada , Greece , Germany . My works are bought by private collectors in Bulgaria , USA , Belgium , Italy , Japan , Greece and Georgia ."

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A. "I see this trend of "computerization" in art. Thus the most important is lost – the emotional, human touch in the works. I believe that the preservation of the traditional way for creation of a work of art is still highly valued by art connoisseurs. I do hope that it will remain so in the future as well."

Q. Any tips for emerging artists?

A. "To be themselves. To discover and stick to their way of work and artistic expression."

Q. Has your work ever been censored? If so, how did you deal with it?

A. "A great part of my artistic experience has passed during the times of communism in Bulgaria . However, none of my works has ever been censored – perhaps due to the fact that I do not imply political ideas in my works."

Q. What was the toughest point in your career as an artist? Have you ever hit rock-bottom?

A. "My years of an emerging artist were the toughest ones – until I found the proper way to express myself and my ideas."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "I feel like doing it and I can do it."

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A. "Art in Bulgaria is on a world level and corresponds to our national characteristics and identity. I live and work in one of the country’s big cities – Stara Zagora."

Q. Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?

A. "I am religious and I incarnate my religious beliefs in my art – though this is not visible at first glance."
I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Stephan Vladov. Feel free to critique or discuss his work.
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

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