Bulgarian Artist, based in, Canada, Painting & Drawing: Alexander Ahilov
1) What Art books are you currently looking at?
I really like the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and his work. I have an excellent edition of a book called: ”Hundertwasser” by Harry Rand. His work really inspires me with the illustrative composition and with the artistic and creative way of thinking. I like his vision of expressionist architecture and the realized buildings in Vienna – Austria (Landstrase District) where Hundertwasser was real spiritual leader.
2) What was the last truly inspiring Art book you saw?
There are many, but I would like to mention Wassily Kandinsky's “The Art of Spiritual Harmony”, “Point and Line to Plane”, “Complete Writings on Art”. I think the theory of composition which Kandinsky summarized, comes from some art sources from our old civilization. The great thing about Kandinsky is that he had the ability to see the elements of the composition and presented them to us in a way that they can apply to any arts.
3) Give us the name of your favorite overlooked or under appreciated Artist?
I am sure there are many overlooked or under appreciatedartists but I will leave this to curators and the time to decide. My view about the success is not about how many paintings the artist sells and how expensive they are, but what kind of message the artist sends to the people. The financial success is not the measurement for me. The spiritual growth is more important.
4) What are your Artistic guilty pleasures? Do you have a favorite genre/style?
I do not feelguilty butpeople might be surprised to hear that I listen to Jazz and Classic Rock a lot while I am painting. I think my favorite style is the abstract art because, I feel I can say more this way using different tones, compositions and geometric forms. I like to break the generalshapes evenif it is a portrait and to challenge visually any subject.
5) If we came to your studio what would we see?
There would be reasonable mess, two easels, one big table with dry and clean brushes, a lot of paint (oil and acrylic), jars with turpentine,dammargum, glues andstaff, a lot of paintings of different sizes,deskwith a big PC computer with two monitors, fancy Wacom tablet and a lot of art books, notes that I never read, business cards. I try to be organized but it does not happen always.
6) What’s the best Art book on (Your nationalities) Art you’ve ever read?
I think the book I really enjoy to read is the book about the artist technology by my teacher Atanas Sharenkov. “Historical Tractates of Technology and Techniques in Fine Art” Volume One and Two, - this is a full tutorial about how to stretch different type canvases, how to make your own paint, gesso, modeling paste and the summery of how the old masters did it on wooden board with egg tempera and on canvas from gesso to final varnish. I think I was very lucky to be a student of Mr. Sharenkov because he taught me how to think technologically as an artist. We as students had access to a lot of art history books.
7) What subject other than Art, are you interested in? That nevertheless informs your work?
I studied graphic design in London, UK and 3D Computer Animation in Toronto, Canada years ago after completing my Master in Fine Arts - paintings and drawings in 1990. The computers were not as popular as they are now. Today I do also a lot of digital art and photography. Now I work in the gaming industry and my aim is to merge all traditional artistic rules and knowledge I have into the Art of Computer Games. I also love to do concept art and matte paintings.
8) What was the last Artbook that made you happy?
Wassily Kandinsky: “Complete Writings on Art”, I would highly recommend it to any fine artists, who do abstract paintings. In myopinion thisis the bible of the abstract art and infact itcould be the bible for any fine art subjects. I also think the galleries and museums such as: MetropolitanMuseum NY, British Museum, Hermitage Museum, Louvre, Tate Gallery, MOMA, AGO and more and more are one of the best open books for artists. We can learn a lot from their exhibitions.
9) What was the last Art book that made you sad?
I do not have a name inmind butI see a lot ofstaffon the internet which is very commercial and makes me feel sad. There is a lot of information aboutarts butitdoes not always helps. I think the social media could beuseful butalso it could be a dangerous way of communication. With the coming digitalworld Ihope the freedom of art will not disappear.
10) What kind of person were you as a child?
I was a difficult child. I did not like the sports and the games very much. My interest was theart butthis was not an option for me at the time. I wanted to create and build different things, to face creative challenges not to consume games. I had a lot of emotional support from my parents and friends. The best part of my childhood was the freedom and the constant joy.
11) Whom do you consider your Artistic Masters? Do you believe in mastery?
Yes Ido believe. The Paintings of the Masters bring something that we do not feel every day. They come with very powerful and positive energy. My artistic Masters are from Renaissance – Raffaello, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, LeonardodaVinci, Dutch Masters: Bosch, Bruegel, Vermeer, Impressionism: Degas, Monet, Van Gogh and few contemporaryartist, who are part of my constant artistic grow.
12) Which Artists have had the most impact on you as an Artist? Is there a particular Art Work that made you want to be an Artist? Please upload an image to justify your statement?
To behonest everyartist who works professionally, gives me a lot of positive energy and hope to work. As a child/ young artist the works by the Old Masters gave me a lot of inspiration. Rembrandt is my favorite and Willem de Kooning, Gerhard Richter, Francis Bacon have a big impact on me as contemporary artist. I learned a lot from them. I feel very lucky that I had some amazing teachers at The Academy of Fine Arts-Sofia and one of them was my prof. Svetlin Rusev..havea big impact on me as contemporaryartist. I learned a lot from them. I feel very lucky that I had some amazing teachers at The Academy of Fine Arts-Sofia and one of them was my prof. Svetlin Rusev.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
13) What gear do you use, and how does your gear, support your Artistic vision. How would you describe your Artistic Workflow what software, hardware, storage, & materials and processes do you use?
This is an interesting question. I like photography and my camera is my sketchbook which allows me to manipulate work images the way I want using Photoshop and Lightroom. I use ipadas a drawing tool butit is not a great tool yet. ipadas a drawing tool butit is not a great tool yet. I use my own homemade modeling paste and gesso. I start with acrylic and complete the painting with oil. I use coffee, sand, paper, salt, glue, anything that will support the idea - (but it has to be technologically very safe). I use professional paint with some additional mixtures. The main goal is to reach what I want to say with the painting and make it interesting as color, texture and composition.
14) Do you have any regrets with regards to your Art especially when starting out. What would you do differently?
I do not have any regrets. I think my working path as an artist is perfectly designed and I just should not allow any compromises and if I do this would be part of the learning curve. I wish the oil could dry faster.
15) In your genre style of work, what are the challenges/opportunities to your business? How do you envision yourself 5 years from now?
I think the challenges would be to generate enough income to be able to think more freely and creatively. In five years time I hope to achieve certainbalancebetween the commercial / business approach, and the creative side of my art. I would be very happy to see my paintings being recognized and loved by different people.
16) In your Artists Imagination, how do you perceive India. What painting/Drawings would you like to make of Her?
If someone asks me to do portrait of India - I would do a large scale board like 80”x160” landscape painting with a lot of thick texture. I will start with acrylic and finish it with oil. There would be one long horizontal orange line-representing the old history of India and many abstract irregular geometric shapes of red/orange, green/blue, yellow/gray and very little rich ground brown to give the impression of the dynamic change India is going through now. The focal point will be the top right corner of Golden Rule, which will be the hottest/ reddish / contrast point in the painting. The color representing my vision of India is very rich orange close to red.
Biography In His Own Word
The creation of my paintings is a long and unpredictable process. Sometimes the ideas come after years of developing and experimenting, sometimes it takes only a few days. Once the idea is clear in my mind and I can see it, I put it on a small format/size - digital or oil, doing different variations and working on the details. When I am satisfied with the results I start painting onthe appropriate size on canvas or a board. What I am looking for in my paintings is to transform different emotions and feelings into visual abstract tones and sizes, I analyze them deeply and try to create a new visual experience - rich in color and tone, structurally strong and challenging as a composition and texture.
My main inspiration is the beauty of everyday life, but I am also very interested in the world beyond us. There are still so many question about the universe and I try to get some answers and unfold the positive energy through every piece of my art. Alexander Ahilov graduated with a Master's degree in Drawing and Painting in 1991 from the most prestigious National Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia-Bulgaria.
His works in Bulgaria represented a return to the traditions of the Bulgarian icon with new stylized and abstract outcome.
Later Alexander went to England and his paintings were transformed into new impressions exploring different textures, finely balanced in color, form and composition.
After coming to Canada Alexander's art went through another transformation. His new works are simply a return to the beauty in life and its reflections. His search for new images, textures and tonal variety keep every piece so uplifting and the search turns into a dialogue about the unknown in the Universe creating an imaginary world- sometime out of reach, sometime very close, but always present and meaningful. Alexander's paintings are in the Bulgarian National Art Museum and private collections in Germany, Italy, England and USA.