"I get inspiration from everything around me. It can be the words of a song, music, an emotion, a book, even a story from a friend. It's unpredictable what can touch my soul... I'm always amazed at how much abstraction exists in nature, in the simple things and in the elementary pictures of everyday life.”
"Vyara", Vyara Tichkova, Mixed Media, 100cm x 70cm, 2015
Outside of her work as an artist, Vyara has worked for BMV Bulgaria, a German company, in the creation of illustrations for 2D & 3D animations for cartoon movies. Approaching her work as an artist, it has allowed Vyara to fine tune her skills and evolve further as a painter and artist. As well as having held exhibitions in various countries around Europe, her work can be found in collections in Europe and Asia.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
Painting has always been present in my life, since a very early age…more than that: we have grown into one whole…seeds which sprout and turn into a large plant that cannot be dismissed...but gives you the strength and the opportunity to be a prism refracting experiences and emotions and magnifying them to the extent which leaves you no choice but to surrender to this sweeping whirlwind.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I cannot describe my style in one word; I think it merges abstract art, impressionism, expressionism, secession… as perceived with my own senses.
"Butterfly Sweetness", Vyara Tichkova, Oil on Canvas, 33cm x 46cm, 2017
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
The way I work changes all the time, and that is inevitable: as one evolves all else around them undergoes development. Sometimes I wish I could paint like somebody different and unknown to me but it is hard to avoid oneself… I hope that in the future I will continue surprising myself and my admirers.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
I draw inspiration from everything around me: an experience, emotion, book, song, a story told by a friend, my travels. If you gaze at the scenery, you may discover shapes and colour blends worthy of more than one abstract painting.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, may be even other artists?
I get the greatest support and motivation from my family, always believing in me, giving me strength to go on ahead. Also, the sparks in the eye of the viewer who has seen a painting of mine…invaluable! I admit the influence of artists like Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Egon Schiele, Maurits Cornelis Escher, Francis Bacon.
"Fishing", Vyara Tichkova, Oil on Canvas, 40cm x 60cm, 2017
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
Most often I paint on canvas using a scraper, oils and ink. In graphic works I combine quite a few materials: pencil, charcoal, ink, paper I have handcrafted myself, collage. I also work with watercolours and gouache. I do not set myself limits and I am not afraid to use various materials and techniques.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
After each journey to a foreign place, I return home filled with inspiration; I want to paint the colours, the emotion, my perception of the place. I like painting women as images of a specific sensitivity and aura, nature and its creations, the sea, music, the experience of travelling…
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?
In working with various themes and interpreting them, I get support from my education in scenography. I can transform music, text, or emotion into a painting or a three-dimensional space. It is fun to watch the theme develop or completely change after another flirt with the canvas in the process of painting.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?
I can’t wait to begin the new day because I know I will be creating, and that brings me fulfilment. I am in a hurry to begin my conversation with the canvas; together we sing, laugh or sometimes argue, but in the end we always achieve unanimity. There are days when, exhausted from passions and emotions, I give my body and mind a break and deal with anything but art: I do not even think about it… that is my way of recharging batteries.
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?
Usually, I start a painting and work on it until it is fully completed. However, there are moments, usually precisely at the end, when you realise you have been looking at a painting for so long that you do not even seem to see it anymore. That is when I break away from it and start the next work… In time I come back to it and, with an already clearer vision, add the finishing touches.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
I would like to answer this question with a quote:
“When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying years of errors and experimentation, frustration and moments of pure joy. Piece of a heart and soul of someone else’s life”
"Female Secrets", Vyara Tichkova, Oil on Canvas, 38cm x 46cm, 2016
Which of your artworks are you most proud off?
I am proud of all my works. However, I cannot but mention specifically: :”Azulejo”, ”Pena palace”,”Ribeira”,”Aveiro”,”She”,”1984”, "The old captain","Flight over the city","Frego","Tender is the night",”Home”, "Villages like suns","Port","Festivities","Marine home", "Marine creatures","Traveling","Encounter","Juvenility"
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
I admire and thank all my teachers, who, besides being great artists, are also incredible people. They never tried to turn me into a copy of theirs or into someone else. Quite the opposite, they helped me develop my own individuality and taught me how to improve and enhance my qualities.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
Yes, I would like to immerse myself in the atmosphere of Secession, its fine line, decorative elements, ornamentation, stained glass, shapes inspired by nature… I like its melodious quality and gracefulness.
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?
That is a fact; art constantly changes and transforms. It leaves the white sheet of paper more and moreoften and triumphantly changes its form into audio-visual or performance art, or a number of other new trends. And thank goodness this is so; art has to undergo change; our civilization is moving ahead, and so does art. Technologies develop and, logically, we take advantage of them. To me, the greatest challenge in the 21st century will be to be capable of creating something with your own two hands, without the addictive drug called Technology: using only the ultimate machine called Man.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
I would advise my young ambitious colleagues to put time and patience into boosting their own skills and talent, to be their own selves… originals, not fakes.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is their another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
I get myself thinking and I discover potential and elements I like in every style. I cannot single out just one specific style.
"Cat Games", Vyara Tichkova, Tempera, 35cm x 50cm, 2015
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?
It has happened to eventually see a painting of mine somewhere and say to myself: ‘Well, some more work could be done here… this could be changed… or shouldn’t there be another touch of blue…’ And it has also happened to start working on a painting which has already been completed. So enough is never enough, because we develop and consequently need to improve on what we have already created and bring it in harmony with ourselves.
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?
Changes and developments in society always find their reflection in art, music, architecture and literature. Trends in different styles are also a reflection of what is happening. So artists do not remain indifferent; they are the test paper which reacts. Of course, there is always the option of creating socially un-involved works of art which, being a breath of fresh air as they are, can in turn be used for charitable causes.
"Kondominium", Vyara Tichkova, Oil on Canvas, 30cm x 40cm, 2017
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I am putting on canvas my latest journey to Italy and stories from my home town, Plovdiv.
Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?
No, but I keep in touch with fellow artists; the sharing of information and experience is very useful.
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?
At the moment I am taking part in a joint exhibition in my native Plovdiv, and there are prospects of having a solo exhibition at a Bulgarian sea-side resort in the summer.
One final word from Vyara
My passion is travelling around the world, every new journey gives me a fresh opportunity to develop and change my vision and ideas. I see new cultures, learn curious stories and stand in front of amazing natural views, I see the achievements of man in every one aspect. This takes my breath away and poses new challenges for me as an artist. I tend not to explain my artworks because I believe that works of art are the connection between the artist and the viewer. It is another form of communication, another kind of language that does not need words ...