MOKUSO: How did you choose Iceland to be your home at this point of your life?
Maria Lavchieva: I always follow my heart and a year or two ago it was blown in the direction of Iceland. I didn’t have any idea how I was going to get there, what I was going to do, I just started dreaming and it happened.
М: How do you fill your everyday life in Iceland and how did you while you were in Bulgaria?
М.L.: The flow here is different. Everyday I am in a magical workshop. I work with “marmots”, disabled people, who think different. They are amazing! Colourful, unpolished, sincere. We create all kinds of wonders – things from natural materials like wool, wood, rocks, horns, bones, shells. I learned how to knit, to forge. Now I know that people communicate mainly on the inner line, not that much with words, but with feelings and intuition, energy. Every soul would love a kind, warm and simple word and touch. The common part of my everyday life here and in Bulgaria is the love and energy I flow with.
М: When did you find out that painting will be so important in your life and what did you go through to reach this moment now?
М.L.: I’ve never understood or knew it. I have simply loved it always. I have no idea about the stage I am in now and I don’t want to put it in frames and standards. Officially I graduated Art Highschool “Ilia Petrov” and the National Academy of Arts, but I am not sure if that matters anyway. For sure it influenced me, but I think this cannot be learned. For me it’s passion, love, work, energy – dense, deep, sometimes hurtful and powerful. I can’t live long periods of time without painting.
М: What is your flow of art and where do you find your self in it?
М.L.: Am I in art or is it in me? All is stardust. Painting is my biggest love. I love to taste all forms of art. It’s all about feeling, perception.
М: Which technique expresses your art sensitivity the strongest?
М.L.: I have no rules, theorems or lemmas. I love to experiment and to find new personal challenges. Habits can choke you.
М: What do you think people find when they dive into your personal art world?
М.L.: Ask them. What I know is that they feel something very familiar, often hidden from the everyday worries. Something moves just for a moment, questions and knowledge come up. I speak with my innermost voice – my soul, and every soul reacts to the inner dialogue, appeal, melody, colour, form, message.
М: What projects are you working on now?
М.L.: I explore the “crazy” people, the “normal” are more inadequate. Humaneness, loneliness, inner fears are being unveiled. This is very interesting – to observe your fears and to communicate with them. And when you just understood them – they disappear.
М: Is there a change in your way of art expression since you’re not in Bulgaria?
М.L.: I don’t know, I’m still in my Bulgarian period. Maybe when time passes I will be able to evaluate the situation and my works.
М: What are your personal expectations of yourself?
М.L.: I gave up the agressive ambition and straining the expectations of me. I will follow my love, my heart, I will work and it will all come to something.
М: What must be changed or preserved in the methods of teaching arts in Bulgaria?
М.L.: Hmm… I will be severe here. I think the whole situation in the National Academy of Arts is very inadequate. Tired professors, ateliers full with empty students. Thee is a lack of passion and hard work. The professors often want to create their own personal manufactured products out of the students. And the students are sluggish and inert – and this is what the teachers use to shape them as they like. I can’t understand if the students don’t have enough punch and passion to advance in arts or the professors don’t allow this freedom. Anyway I am more of a lone wolf and my privacy and solitary are my biggest trigger to advance. In this no professor is needed.
М: Who are your closest and favourite critics?
М.L.: My inner feelings and some people, who sometimes are really correct and shoot you right in your weakness. But often people just make noise and confuse you for the moment, they muffle your feelings.
М: Where do you find inspiration recently?
М.L.: In life (and death), that is filled with a great number of human links and absolute simplicity. That always was and will be my inspiration.
М: What is your life full with in Iceland and what’s missing there?
М.L.: Here I am in a peculiar monastery. I dove in my deepest inner feelings and I try to get to know the human soul, the magnificent contact with the “marmots” and all ancient knowledge of working with natural materials. I miss the rakia and all fruits and vegetables.
М: Do you have a postulate, that you invariably followed, something that’s in force about you now? Is there something you would like to recommend to the people, who start creating art just now?
М.L.: Love (your job), garlic and rakia is the secret!