It’s Friday once again, which means both Heirloom & Knot and I are very happy to share with you the latest instalment in our ongoing Art Fair Fridays series, where we bring you weekly design inspiration and exclusive interviews with the talented artists that inspire our creativity on a daily basis.
Today, we’re so excited to share with you the mixed media work of Toronto based artist Ianitzva Vassileva, whose photographs and paintings straddle the line between hyper realism and abstraction. Her works provide a glimpse into the artist’s perceptions of events, moments and time in a way that feels both representative and beautifully interpretive.
How long would you say you have been a professional artist and what has lead you to this point in your career?
It’s hard to say at which point I really became a “professional” – art has been something I have been involved in from an early age and something I always approach with a great deal of focus and enthusiasm. That being said, I’ve been exhibiting my work at various galleries since 2011 when I was fortunate to have my first solo exhibition. Since then, I’ve had to work really hard to continue building my practice and creating as much work as I can while balancing a full time job as a designer/consultant. I think there’s also a fair bit of social media marketing & business savviness associated with a career in art. It is something I love learning about and developing alongside my work!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received about your art?
Even if you’re not feeling particularly inspired, just pick up the paintbrush and start making something. It really is that simple sometimes, I can’t count the amount of times that has pushed me through a creative block!
How would you describe your creative process?
It’s very intuitive, and process oriented. Sometimes an idea hits me over the head and I just have to do something with it right away, whereas some ideas just linger around in my head until I finally figure out how to express them. I take a lot of photographs as well – for the underwater paintings I spend hours sorting through all the pictures until I find ‘the one’ that just works. Once I have a general plan for a painting, I start sketching it out on the panel and from there it’s just a matter of immersing myself in the painting process and seeing where it takes me. Reflection comes after.
What is your favourite medium to work in?
Although I really enjoyed exploring sculpture, installation, and printmaking in art school, I seem to always go back to painting. Oils are my favourite – I just wish the brushes were easier to clean!
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Being able to see a group of my paintings come together in a series makes me incredibly proud!
Also, it’s been amazing to connect with so many people via my website and social media outlets. It’s really encouraging (like getting an email from Vogue!), and I’ve also been offered some wonderful opportunities along the way.
How would you describe your signature style?
It’s abstract in the details, but more photorealistic from afar. I think there’s something to be said about the influence of technology and the way small screen sizes have changed the way we perceive art. I actually use my phone as a lens to view my painting while I’m working on it. It gives me a different perspective – almost like another dimension through which to view my work. I like that dichotomy of abstract versus hyper realistic.
Where do you find your greatest creative inspiration?
I keep my eyes open for inspiration from anywhere, whether that’s in nature, science, Instagram, fashion, materials or even the process of making art itself! I find inspiration in the tricks that light plays on our eyes. Artists that inspire me are Cecily Brown, David Altmejdt, Lorella Paleni, and so many others, including many emerging artists!
No. 1 Mathias Bengtsson – Slice / Paper Chair– Price Upon Request
No. 2 Tiffany & Co. – Loop Tassel Key Chain – $200.00
No. 3 House of Harlow 1960 – Turquoise Prana Stud Earrings – $38.00
No. 4 Black Rooster Décor – Malachite Ice Bucket – $104.13
No. 5 Gray Malin – “I Am Busy” Balloons iPhone 6 Plus Cover – $54.00
No. 6 Net-a-Porter – Norma Kamali William Printed Swimsuit – $113
No. 7 Kelly Wearstler – Mini Bauble Square Frame Burnished Bronze & Semi-Precious Stone – $3,295
No. 8 Kate Spade – Peach Court Margot Handbag- $798.00
No. 9 Anthropologie – Ceramic Safari Knob – $10.00
No. 10 Indigo – Slim Aarons: Once Upon A Time – $91.67
No. 11 Hudson’s Bay – M.A.C False Lashes Waterproof – $27.00
Artists who can vacillate between mediums and have each one look more stunning then the next, sort of blow my mind.
Here are my top 5 from Vassileva’s stunning portfolio…
I love how you almost can’t tell which underwater one is a photo and which is a painting…all so beautiful!