Bojankov is an experienced Bulgarian artist who has internationally exhibited his work since the 1990s. Through his artistic expression, he aims to explore the modern individual – ego, history, and existence, and their evolution into recognizable symbols and codes. His resulting abstract paintings are busy, colorful and thought-provoking.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I don’t remember many of my first desires related to fine arts. Maybe they were too early in my childhood. I only remember that the two things that always filled me [with joy] were drawing and kicking a soccer ball on the streets of my hometown. There was even a period when I attended the children’s football school at the stadium. This was short-lived, and as the child progressed, the ball gave way to the magic and pleasure of drawing.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?
In my early teens I was already devoted to painting, I had read about the great artists – Leonardo, Tizian and Raphael, but mostly about the great French Impressionists and post- Impressionists. I was completely captivated by their destinies, their poor but romantic life, as well as their attempts to change and modernize art… They were the real heroes of my teenage years.
Then I studied art with several drawing teachers, and then came my studies at the Academy for Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland, where I met many famous Polish artists — my professors. Of course, here I include the lessons of the Greatest in the Museums – Picasso, Miro, Klee, Pollock, Beuys, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Tapies, and other important artists of the 20th century. I also read a lot of literature – mostly modern poetry and prose – Verlaine, Eluard, T.S. Elliott, Ginsberg, Albert Camus, Sartre, Thomas Mann, Hesse, Marquez, Borges and others… and of course, Dostoevsky and Chekhov. It was a long series, but I can’t miss any of them…
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
Painting and creation are special processes related to a specific craft and technology, and sometimes require hard work, which usually takes place in the solitude of the studio. This helps me to concentrate not only on the process of making, but also to analyze the magic and psychology of the creative process, as well as the way and means to achieve the desired result in the realization of the idea.
Creativity is a strictly specific and individual attitude, which happens to me in the emotional and artistic atmosphere of the studio, most often with the background of music – jazz, classical or world music – the best examples. Or in complete silence.
Of course, conversations and exchanges of thoughts and ideas, collaboration and communication with friends – artists, poets and musicians, or just art lovers – always enrich the feelings and help in the analysis of my own creativity and the development of my own visual models.
Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?
I am currently working on several series of abstractions and associative landscapes – watercolors and acrylic paintings, some of which are commissions, in which I use moods and suggestions based on different types of music – jazz, classical (Chopin for example) and ethno music. Of course, it is only an occasion and an initial impetus for liberation and emotional adjustment, which lead in unknown ways and are a curious meditation on existence, beauty and harmony as essential values of life.
I also work on topics inspired by the cultural and historical accumulations in the region where I live, related to my Bulgarian and Balkan roots, traditions and specific archetypes… A beautiful province south of Sofia, rich in Neolithic artifacts, primitive art and all stages of European civilization – there are examples from the ancient Greek and Roman eras, Byzantium and orthodoxy, Ottoman art and many more layers that create a unique atmosphere. They are an irreplaceable wealth and base, influencing every contemporary artist, especially in the context of the processes related to the globalization and digitalization, having a fruitful effect on the aesthetic and philosophical attitudes of the individual.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I haven’t thought about it. It seems that I have always been excited by those special vibrations associated with the magic of beauty and connections with spiritual spaces – a need with which a person is born and cannot be released throughout his life. And if he tries to do that, he would run away from himself, from his essence, he would punish himself, he would move away from “happiness”, whatever that means.
I remember, in that sense, my failed two-year attempt to study engineering. I would now be an unfortunate civil engineer, with all due respect to this important human activity. If I didn’t paint, maybe I would write poetry or compose music – at first glance completely useless and impractical things, without which, however, life and the world can be neither complete nor incomplete.
What advice would you give to young artists starting out?
Difficult question. Art is an activity that is a special and difficult field, associated with the most intimate mental and intellectual vibrations, and requires special dedication and conviction. It gives, in its specific way, a kind of personal freedom to people who are dedicated to creating.
This is an area in which one cannot be insincere, dishonest, one cannot be bad, lie and speculate with emotions and ideas. This is always visible and transparent through form and analysis, no matter how well disguised. Therefore, I want to suggest to them to be themselves, to look for themselves, to be sincere with their emotions and feelings… and then they should not worry about the result… it will always be good.