name: Anelia Pashova
education: Master’s degree in Illustration
where you are now: in my studio in Sofia
Мokuso: Does art have a long and mysterious history in your family? Where are you from and is Sofia your home?
Anelia Pashova: I know that there were architects in the family, but I have no information about artists … it’s an absolute mystery.
In fact, my mother has been very fond of painting, but it remained just as a hobby. On the other hand my oldest brother and I (I have two brothers) have always been painting and he is currently a graphic designer and I’m an illustrator (if I may call myself this way).
Otherwise I am from Pazardzhik, not from the capital. I spent my youth years in Plovdiv, so I consider this city a very important part of me. I have lived in Sofia since 2008. And yes, Sofia is my home, because I feel in the right spot here.
M: When did you understand that painting is your vocation? Is it the only one or not?
A.P: Actually I think that there wasn’t such a spectacular epiphany. Everything happened very naturally. I was doodling since I was very little, then in school I painted all my classmates paintings in Art class, then without any special tutoring I got accepted in the Art School in Plovdiv and finally in the Academy. I was just going my way. There was not any doubt.
M: Other vocations? A.P: Yes, I have – to be a good person.
M: How are you drawing lately – with traditional or digital instruments?
A.P: Maybe I am from the dying breed of graphic artists that are extremely fond of the pencil, the rubber and the brush. You cannot replace that feeling with a tablet or a computer. It is not that I do not use digital tools, but I try to reduce to minimal their interference in my illustrations.
M: What did your education at the National Art Academy give you? What did it take from you? Would you have chosen another specialty, if you go back in time?
A.P: I would not have changed the main subject in any case. It is one of the best in the Academy. Thanks to it I’ve discovered many areas that I have not even thought existed. This education gave me the experience that I still to this day amass.
M: How would you define the natural development of an artist after graduation?
A.P: What is natural about a lawyer? To start working at a law firm.
What is natural for an artist? To paint! Painting brings the development.
M: Do you use stimulants to paint?
A.P: Ha-ha, interesting question. What do you understand by the word stimulants?
If you ask me about alcohol, I would say no, because I use it very rarely.
Perhaps the best stimulant for me is the inspiration from a certain topic and the appropriate music that goes with it.
M: What stimulates you to continue to be occupied with art in Bulgaria?
A.P: Certainly not the remuneration.
Actually it is not the most important thing, in fact every artist needs to feel that she/he is evolving. Otherwise he will slowly and surely die.
And as I said above – I feel in the right spot here. I prefer to live in Bulgaria, but if necessary I would go anywhere else for a while. But just for a little while.
M: You have illustrated several books, including a couple of children’s ones, tell us about that experience (because the book is an experience one way or another). And what techniques and methods did you use?A.P: They are just a few books, but I hope to become more and more. I have worked on many different projects, but for now only two books have been published.
My first total print was called “The time of Laurie” and is a book-game for children from 2 to 8 years. It was a great happiness for me that it actually works very well for the kids! The book is a specific one – it is divided into three sections through which the illustration and the text change. You can switch the head, the body and the legs and at the same time the words on the side are also changing. The goal is to match all the images logically or to mix them completely in the most interesting and absurd combinations. And the children really like to make absurd things! One woman told me that she taught her 4-year-old daughter to read the book, which was really great news for me! Fun and at the same time educational – this is already a job well done.
The next book is really amazing! “The incredible stories of the treasures of Bulgaria” is difficult to perceive as authentic literature, not just as a fictional children’s book, because of the absurd stories in it. And they are so typically Bulgarian! The sources for it were the archaeologists themselves! A very interesting and entertaining book. The text got me immediately and I started to imagine what I’m about to deal with. I was afraid at the beginning, I admit, because it was my first serious book. But in the process of working everything came to place. We worked together with Stanka Zheleva on the illustrations – she painted the compositions with people and I focused on the treasures and on the emerging creatures and landscapes. I drew only with pencil and watercolor, which was a great pleasure for me.
M: Is magazinche.com your child? Who is involved in it?
A.P: Who is the child, who has developed the other more is really controversial. It is rather a symbiotic relationship between me and the online shop.
It collects the work of many, many Bulgarian artists. The shop itself is currently being managed by 6 people in 3 different stores in Sofia and Plovdiv. We are a team, such a thing cannot be maintained by a single person. We have a website which is a great achievement, because we sell handmade items and none of them may be repeated.
I’ve helped a lot for the development of this place – logo, vision, illustrations, ideas and so on, and so on. But while I’ve given a lot to this little shop to become what it is today it also helped my development and gave me the contact with people, an accurate perspective of the situation and boosted my confidence. In May will be four years since I’ve been there. In the beginning we were three girls, a garage and a dream. It’s nice when you see your dreams unfold. I must also mention the main generator behind this place – her name is Jeny and she is a person that charges and inspires the people around her. Magazinche.com thrives mostly on its pith and marrow and the endless enthusiasm.
M: Have you thought about emigrating?
A.P: Not for good.
M: Is the life of the artist abroad better these days (we exclude the statistics on suicides of artists from all fields of art, that we even don’t have)?
A.P: To tell you honestly – I don’t know. I have friends abroad, but they struggle every day like us. It is very subjective what is better and what is worse. It’s a matter of personal satisfaction and happiness.
M: Do you sing while you paint or while in the shower?
A.P: Oh, regularly!
M: Your future creative plans?
A.P: I currently draw illustrations in order to finish a series of three copyright books. The series is called “Dog Stories” and I hope I can publish them this year. I have also stocked up with new ideas for books for the future.
M: Can you give some advice to the young painters and artists?
A.P: Hey, I consider myself a young one! :)))
Joking aside, this may sound trite, but the truth is just one – a person must not, under any circumstances, stop doing what she/he loves best. Just do not stop! Sooner or later the things eventually will come into place.