This week we were fortunate to have a conversation with the talented graphic designer and artist, Ivan Kashlakov.
BYMG: How did you get started?
IK: Well, like most artists say “from a young age,” but if I have to be honest, it started naturally (like everything in life) with an inner urge and curiosity towards the world. At one point, there were certain things that attracted my curiosity more than others—creativity, imagination and art in general.
It began with drawing from comics and eventually led me to the National Art School of Dimitar Dobrovich in Sliven—my home town. There I studied in the specialty of Advertising Graphics. This was the place where I experienced how you can be yourself in the best possible way. Two and a half months ago, I graduated the National Academy of Art Sofia in the specialty of Poster and Visual Communication. I have participated in many exhibitions in the country and abroad.
I see myself as an explorer in art (aren’t we all).
BYMG: Who or what influences your work?
IK: Many great masters inspire me. A lot of the influence came from my teachers. There is a certain feeling that I couldn’t ignore when I looked at paintings from the ages—the feeling of eternity, endless time, human morals and undeniable truth.
The sense that you are looking at something and it absorbs you into a completely different world. A motion, expression that slaps you in the head with all your perception and concentrates it in one point.
In a brushstroke, you can see the whole universe. Something more than life itself.
BYMG: Do you have a particular time of day that feels the best for you to create? A specific space? Or do you just get to it when and where the mood strikes?
IK: I like the mornings—the first part of the day when you have more energy and everything is fresh. After the smell of coffee in the morning I feel anything is possible.
Usually I don’t need specific space, but I’m really comfortable in my atelier in Sliven. I like to create all the time, inspiration comes from everywhere, you just have to reach it. A specific energy growing like an appetite.
I’m always looking for the idea hiding behind the corner. Very often I get into the inner music during the process. I can refer to it like a jazz rhythm and excitement on the top of my brush. The academy is a special place that unlocks in me the complete art soul and character purpose.
I like to quote Salvador Dali:
“I’m in a state of permanent intellectual erection.”
BYMG: What is your process like? Do you typically finish a piece in one day, or take breaks and come back to it?
IK: When the process starts the time stops to matter. I’m a visual addict.
Most of the time, the need to see art work is essential for me. Like a soul fuel. The process of thinking takes more time than the actual work. In this modern time, the faster you paint the better.
Mind and hand have to be as one.
I usually like to finish a piece in one session but sometimes breaks are needed to see clearly what the work needs. A break to look at it with different eyes. The time for every work is undefined and if the work is good, you don’t think of the time it took to create it. It looks like it was made in just one breath (holus-bolus).
BYMG: What’s the big message you want readers to take away from your work?
IK: There are many messages, not only one, but as a summary, to look deeper in life and enjoy more simple things.
To see the true essence of everything and forget what troubles them. A vision that touches hearts and warms them. To experience the metaphor and be affected by the hyperbole.
To be pushed to think and not knowing or realizing it.
To just let it be and make a difference.
BYMG: Favorite creation so far this year?
IK: My most recent work is Archive (literal conceptualism). A painting for the boredom of administration and stored human souls and lives. The inspiration came from an academic detail. At the same time, the work is somewhere between the line of abstract and reality, and can definitely be seen as literal or metaphorical. So it grows on me.
It will be the first part of series that I’m working on.
BYMG: Where can our readers connect with you?
And if anyone feels the need to connect me or ask a question, my mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities.
Thank you, Ivan, for sharing your thoughts and creativity with us.
One of the main things that every man searches for in his life is his own identity. Ivan Kashlakov doesn’t know if it’s accidental or fate but self-expressing became his way of living. At the current moment, he is beginning his Master’s program in the specialty of Visual Communication at the National Art Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria. For Ivan, there is no limit to the way of expressing himself and that is why he always travels somewhere in the river of imagination. He searches in the intimate and poetic corners of his mind and finds inspiration in the small, ordinary things in life. Through his art, Ivan seals a moment in eternity. His sour rests in the connection between nature and object. His way of showing things is through classical influence and a lot of expressive motion. Ivan’s main goal is seeing the truth of life which we breed every day but forget from time to time.