When did you first think about art as something you wanted to do? Were you encouraged or discouraged by family, friends, teachers, mentors?
I always loved drawing, but remember deciding to become an artist at age seven. I had just started school andhated it. Mostly hated getting up so early! I was under the impression that artists don’t have to wake up early or go to school.I was sorely mistaken! My family always supported me. My parents are artists and very bohemian. They hardly noticed what I was doing, but were supportive to a fault. Still are.
What kind of kid were you? What were your influences?
I was very independent kid and quite wild. I grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was a communist country back then, very closed off and repressed. But as kids none of it affected us too much.My parents made sure to shield us from a lot. My biggest influence was my dad’s amazing library of art books and literature. Nothing was off limits, there were no age restrictions and no censorship. Also, my grandmother Daphna’s crazy stories, very picturesque and saucy. She would embellish them daily, depending on her mood.
Your style is very unique. Did you work on developing a style or is that what naturally came out of you?
It came naturally, but I lost it along the way, especially during my years in art school. I went to art school in Bulgaria. It was very rigid – Socialist Realism all the way, as you can imagine. My weird creatures and playful color pallet were not appreciated.
It took me awhile to get the confidence to bring my natural style back. Illustrating children’s books and working in animation as a character designer helped a to free me and get back to what I love.
You work in a few different areas like children’s books,
animation, magazine illustration, etc. How did that happen?
Mostly it all happens by accident and also very naturally…
I am a very curious person and I can’t say no to work. I say yes to all kinds of projects. Often I will take any little job that comes my way, at least half of the time it leads me somewhere interesting and brings more opportunities, and more contacts with great people.
I just think of artistic challenges as adventures. Some people jump off cliffs and swim with sharks, I face a blank canvas and it thrills me.
How has the advent of the computer affected your work? Do you work traditionally and digitally?
I work both ways. I love the new technology. More fun tools to play with and it keeps me learning new stuff. Also, I have become a bit of a clean freak and minimalist in my old age, so when I work
digitally I like how clean my studio is! Also it keeps my toddlers from eating the paints and drinking the solvents…which is very useful!
For More of this interview go to https://issuu.com/lonfellow/docs/ij.best_of_2018_v2