Larisa Ilieva

Larissa Ilieva is a Bulgarian artist based in Paris, France. She’s had more than 18 one-man show exhibitions in Bulgaria, Luxembourg, and the USA. Larissa has also participated in numerous duo shows (with Nikolay Panayotov) and group exhibitions in France, Russia, Taiwan, Italy, Bulgaria, the USA, and around the globe.

To me, the place doesn’t matter that much, what matters is the creative spark that moves the paintbrush on the canvass.

I work mainly with acrylic paint combined with Chinese ink. This is a technique I discovered for myself, thanks to a symbiosis between classic and abstract painting art.

"I often find inspiration in the past, in the history of Art, in the Renaissance, Baroque, and sometimes even in a face that I saw in the underground."

Bio

Before I settled in Paris, I lived in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, where I graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the “St. st. Cyril and Methodius” University in Veliko Tarnovo with a major in the art of painting. My first creative aspirations were influenced by the classic Bulgarian painters, whose presence was then strongly felt in the Old Capital (Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria).

The work of artists such as Boris Denev and Nikola Tanev influenced my style strongly, which at that time was entirely realistic, and the technique I used - dry pastel. However, I had the opportunity to live and work in the French capital, so I changed my creative approach, which was expressed in a constant need for experimentation. Currently, I work mainly with acrylic paint combined with Chinese ink. This is a technique I discovered for myself, thanks to a symbiosis between classic and abstract painting art.

When I was little I loved drawing, and I loved crafting things with my hands. In my home, art has always been respected. We had a good collection of books of fine art reproductions, which I viewed with great interest. My life in Veliko Tarnovo also gave me favourable conditions to develop a desire to create art. Lately, I’ve been turning more and more to classic European painting art, especially portrait painting art from the times of Baroque and Rococo. It is the aesthetic ideals that appeared in this time that attract my attention and are the artistic continuity that I seek. As a whole, the artists from those two periods are the foundation on which I build my current artistic style.

My technique has been influenced by classicism and contemporary pop art. For the combination of these two artistic movements, I found acrylic to be the most suitable medium for my painting art. I usually combine intense dabs of paint with graphic rhythms done with black Chinese ink with a feather or paintbrush. For some of my work, I add different textures to the canvas, which results in a wealth of vibes and light reflections.

Time is the most unbiased judge of the artist and their work. While producing painting art, I don’t think about time as a factor. I think that what is more important for the artist is their genuine, honest commitment to the creative process. Yes, the audience does change, but if art is really art, it controls the interest of the audience, and not the other way around. Works of art reflect the time in which they were created, but they can also stay relevant for the subsequent generation if the artist was honest in their interpretation and succeeded in finding a good balance between the values common to all humans and the peculiar way in which the artist sees the world.

I dream of the emergence of a new Renaissance and the real patrons of the arts who can recognise and selflessly appreciate good art.

When I look back to the past, I borrow images and themes so that I can integrate them into the context of our time. The juxtaposition of real and abstract, decorative and fine, contemporary and classic is the foundation of my current work process, which helps me unleash my imagination and means of expression in the accomplishment of a unified work. Striving to unveil the secrets and mysteries in somebody’s story coincides with the mysteriousness that is typical of the past, and this encourages me to play and rearrange various artefacts with various aesthetic nuances. The themes related to humanity, beauty, harmony, and love for the world are fundamental in my work.

Artworks

Art, to me, is a form of communication. Through art, an artist realises their desire to leave a message, to immortalise themselves, and imprint an idea to reveal their emotion and overall subjective view of the world. In this way, art encodes life itself and human evolution.

The Atelier

I am an artist who starts from chaos. A central part of my process is my intuition informed by inspiration. In this initial stage of paint application, the idea is born, and the work starts to shape. Day after day, the painting absorbs the movements of the hands and starts acquiring certain forms and details until the moment it is complete. I often find inspiration in the past, in the history of Art, in the Renaissance, Baroque, and sometimes even in a face that I saw in the underground.

Photo by Soul Awards
Photo by Soul Awards
Photo by Soul Awards

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