Tell us a bit about your journey and the progression of your practice, and how would you describe your work in one sentence?
It all started when I was a little girl, I dreamed of being an artist painter or a writer and make people experience deep emotions while interacting with my work. As I was interested in many other subjects, I did long studies, published a book of poems and finally became an architect; I worked for 5 years in that sphere, mainly for bank offices. When I changed my country at the age of 29, I left all behind and started a new life in France, I became gradually a self–employed, self-thought artist. My work is all about capturing love, tenderness and beauty in life.
‘I was beautiful’ - oil on canvas,
What is the primary focus of your practice, what is it your exploring and questioning within your works?
The positive and very intimate relationships between people, people and living creatures, people and music, meditation, memories of that magical time called childhood...
‘Big, Big Love’ - Oil on canvas
Your work uses such bright expressive colours and has a distinctive surrealist feel, what or who have been the biggest inspirations on your work?
I have worked a lot to create my own special technique oil on canvas by several layers, I use about ten successive layers for most of the paintings. I try to capture the magic of life, thus bright vibrant colors are absolutely necessary for me. I started reading at the age of 3; my inspirations come from all the wonderful fairy tales’ books with illustrations by Bulgarian or international painters that I read in my childhood - and all my life experiences afterwards; the world mythologies and cultures. That is why people of very different origins find themselves in my paintings and this is the greatest reward for an artist.
‘Venus with Doves’- Oil on Canvas
You explore a lot of human form and architecture what is it about these that draws you in?
Being an architect in my “first life” and I will always be interested in that; at the same time I keep deep inside the magical villages of my childhood the way I remember them, more like mirages than reality. I also paint many self portraits in different moments of my life.
‘Do not leave me’ - oil on canvas
You’ve shown your work across the world! What exhibitions have you got line up for 2017?
Nowadays with internet, an artist has so many opportunities! This year, I have as always my exhibitions all over in France and also in a gallery in Doha, Qatar. I prepare two solo shows, one in a chateau in Amboise (France) and another in September, in a new gallery in the center of Paris. I am very excited!
‘ Cat-hedral’ - Oil on Canvas
What is the current series in your studio, and if you could select one piece to showcase it which one would it be?
Now I explore a very contemporary approach using new paints, I try to use a mixed, oil based media, with pastels, markers, and somehow in a very distant way, inspired by graffiti art . If I chose only one work, that it will be my all time favorite painting DO NOT LEAVE ME - NE ME QUITTE PAS en French (JACQUES BREL’s song) which is related to a very personal experience and dedicated to the greatest love of my 20s, L.
TO SEE MORE OF ALBENAS’ WORK http://www.albena-vatcheva-painter.com
INTERVIEW by HANNAH SMITH