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Inside the Artist's Studio: Silvia Vassileva

Banner: detail of In the Clouds Indigo and Gray by Silvia Vassileva

Best seller artist Silvia Vassileva shares her secret recipe for success, that you can follow to achieve your own goals, welcome to her studio:

Best seller artist Silvia Vassileva was born in Bulgaria where she started her education in art at an early age. She culminated her studies with a Masters in Fine Art from the National Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her extensive exposure to culturalization has influenced her work, style, and choice of color pallete. Spending 6 years in Japan and later moving to the United States, gives Vassileva great sensibility to different cultures and the small details of the world around her. Vassileva’s goal is to create captivating paintings that are a reflection of how she transforms reality in her own mind. Her work has been featured in Veranda, Elle Décor, Décor, Art World News, Art Business News, Carmel Valley News.

How did you become a full time working artist?

Art has never been a hobby for me. Since childhood I had the clear realization that with knowledge, skill, and hard work one day I will make a living as a full time artist. In my mind I was always only an artist and a full time artist; even when I had no chance to paint, raising young children in foreign countries.

Detail of Stone Gardens II Yellow by Silvia Vassileva

What is your advice for emerging artists?

I can write a long list but first comes GAIN KNOWLEDGE! Learn your lessons while you are young because later it shows, even in abstract works, if you missed something. It is like learning a language, the more you know it the better and easier you will be able to express yourself. Second,

"Be true to yourself!"

Tools and technique don't make a painting, the person who uses them and the way he uses them [make the painting].

"WORK! Inspirations and muses are for amateurs, a true artist can't wait to wake up in the morning and to start painting."

If you feel lazy or you don't know what to paint (we are all humans after all and we have such moments) SQUEEZE SOME PAINT ON YOUR PALETTE and think about the artists who do not have that luxury (and don't let the paint dry)! Here is an important one, TRICK YOUR OWN MIND. Like a great actor, no matter how you feel, imagine that there is an audience in front of you and you must perform! This means discipline!!! Last but not least, DO NOT THINK ABOUT MONEY. Money is a natural consequence of all of the above, but it should never be a motivation. And here I will quote my great studio drawing teacher who believed an artist should BE A HUMBLE PERSON - "if you ever feel that you painted something great, just think about Rembrandt...and start your next painting!"

Detail of Vista Point I by Silvia Vassileva

Who are three classical artists that have influenced your work?

This is easy. First come the Renaissance  masters, from them I learned the alphabet of the painting language. Then comes Van Gogh. His ultra-sensitivity to color and his passion are my biggest inspiration.

"Finally, Picasso. He is the encyclopedia of drawing and painting, a bottomless well of exploration and creativity."

What inspires you as an artist?

I believe that true artists are born inspired. They have a different sensitivity than the non-creative people, different mindset, and a completely different ability to see things. They also have the skill to transfer an image from the mind, to the hand, and onto a canvas. I also believe that although our art is visual, paintings can be triggered by anything, not just the reality we see but rather by the way that reality makes us feel. In other words, to me the process of painting is my reaction to the world, my way to function as a human being.

How has the pandemic influenced your work?

Besides everything else, during Covid [my work] became a therapy as well!

Who are three contemporary artists that have influenced your work?

I can't name even one. While I develop and evolve as an artist every day I see a lot of art. I may like many artists, I may be influenced by different artists at different times, but I am who I am and I 'speak my own language'!

What does your studio look like?

My studio is a dream come true and a pride of mine! We built an addition onto our house, and I designed it myself. [It has] skylights exactly like the ones I had in my rental attic when I was a young art student in Sofia! I wish it were bigger, but it has been functioning for 22 years already!

What is your favorite format?

I prefer large formats. I love large squares and I absolutely love painting un-stretched because of the hard surface which gives much more technical freedom. On rare occasions I enjoy small sizes when I can be immersed into details.

What do you want the viewer to know about your work? or feel when they see it?

I want them to feel the spontaneity with which it was created. I want to trigger their emotion and to give them a visual excitement because my work is my spontaneous reaction to the world.

What is your favorite painting you have made?

The next one! But usually my favorite ones are the ones that are very spontaneous, come easily, and carry the feeling I had while painting.

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Full Moon II by Silvia Vassileva