Vasil Vasilev is an artist from Yambol, Bulgaria. In 1994 he graduated with a Masters from the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria, where studied Aesthetics and Painting under the tutelage of Professor Alexander Terziev, prior to that he studied at the Art School of Fine Arts Dimitar Dobrovich in Sliven, Bulgaria.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
Ever since I was child, I loved to draw.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I would not give a precise definition of my style, because for this, there are well-prepared art critics. I would say I am close to abstract expressionism.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
The artist can never be completely sure of his success or failure. I strive to develop, enrich my understanding of painting, and I am always in search for the new.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
There are different emotions, many things inspire me. One of them is painting with music in the background, I to listen to jazz, classics, sometimes techno. Other times the inspiration comes from a pleasant walk in the park or visits to a museum, galleries, seeing works of other authors. That charges me.
"Urban Fragments", Vasil Vasilev, Acrylic on Canvas, 2018
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
Over the years there have been people who inspired me, yes. When a person is young he learns, looks at, gets inspired by world known masters of the art. The family also plays a big role, it gives you security. When I was a student, I admired different artists, such as Rembrandt, Raphael, Velazquez and other known masters. Later, there were others, more modern. Life is dynamic, and so are our interests.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
I like to work with quality materials, but I do not adhere to certain brands. I like the Dutch paints,the German brushes and canvases and so on.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
Each time is different, for example, a walk in a nice city, a visit to an art exhibition or a good concert. Reading a good book also gives me inspiration.
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
I work with mixed technique on canvas. I begin more freely,with brighter tones, texture, drawing and finally comes the finish. But this is just a short answer, while in fact the process is long. Sometimes I pause for days, I look at the painting and analyze, then I apply the final touches.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is it more a case of when the moment is right you work?
Usually I like to paint in the morning in the daylight. The time before noon is the most creative part of the day for me. The afternoon is time for analyzing the painting, even in that time I might work, making adjustments.
"Inside Out", Vasil Vasilev, Acrylic Gesso on Canvas, 2018
When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?
Most of the time I only work on one painting, but sometimes it happens that I have to work on two or three paintings, which are close in tone and colour, in those cases I prepare the textures and the base of all of them together. But I would say that happens rarely in my work, it is an exception.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
It has always been difficult and easy, difficult to perfect, acquiring skills, experience with different techniques. It has been hard to find a connoisseur who will appreciate your works. The pleasant part is when the artist sees the realisation of his labour.
Which of your artworks are you most proud off?
I think I have such works, every artist has them. For example, one of them is "Sacrament" because it is related to my personal experiences and achievements.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
I admire artists who have succeeded in imposing their style and have managed to become quite popular. At the moment I think of Gerhard Richter, but there are many others.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
The Renaissance in Italy, but also the emergence of modernism in the early thirties in USA.
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?
Most of all to overcome the disregard of the critics, the gallerists, to be able to advertise yourself well so people can learn about your work, there are many challenges.
"The Modern Town", Vasil Vasilev, Acrylic on Paper, 2018
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
To be yourself and to believe that success will come. Most of all to be honest with oneself, and to work hard. The challenge is that the modern artist also has to be a manager of himself, to be able to advertise himself and to look for ways to express his work.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is their another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
One has to look and learn from the achievements of others. The more you look, the more you learn. My philosophical view is that the achievements of one person in a given field are also your achievements. We are all connected in one way or another on this planet.
We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?
Yes, it is so. For me it's quite possible, after a month ,or even a year, to change or develop one of my paintings. I always see my mistakes and also things that I have missed, that has always been a pleasure, to recognize what you could have done better. Of course I rarely have the chance to do that, because many of my works have already gone to other people.
"Sign of Spring", Vasil Vasilev, Acrylic on Canvas, 2018
Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?
I believe that not only the artist should have a cause, but also many other people who do no have common with art. My role, as an artist is to bring to people beauty and spirituality, light in the gray days.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a new piece. Every day, almost without exception I have a new canvas on my easel at certain developmental stage, this is my life :)
Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?
Yes, in my hometown I was a member of a group made up of my colleagues, it was called "Alternative 13" because we were thirteen people. Unfortunately, the group doesn't exist for a long time, and I now live abroad. Yes, being part of it helped me with the realisation of my works, we did joint exhibitions, there was a lot of feedback in the press.
When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?
My next exhibition is going to be very soon ,at the CDU headquarters in Essen,Germany.The opening will be on 15th June 2018 and will continue for three months until 15th September 2018. A total of 20 new artworks will be featured there.
To view Vasil's full collection - The Online Art Gallery of Vasil Vasilev