When did Nikola Alipiev feel the call of art?
Every child is an artist. They love drawing and their own drawings are the most important ones. I failed to develop other talents and was left with drawing. When I was 7 and living in my hometown Kardzhali, my father took me to drawing lessons with one of my favourite teachers, Emil Penchev. I think that’s when I felt overwhelmed by the magic of painting. We painted mostly in tempera and with large brushes. I was very impressed with colour and composition.
Do you remember your first artwork? What did it represent?
I do remember those first “works” I did back then. We did great intuitive and colourful compositions.
Nikola, you are a versatile artist whose work is composed of both abstract and figurative pieces. However, you state to have fallen in love with the abstract style. Could you tell us what is that captivates you the most about the creative process of an abstract painting?
I don’t think of myself as a versatile artist, but rather as one who has been through different stages in the development of his interests. I was always interested in the technique and technology of painting with colour. I went to high school and then to the academy of art, and there I realised that I wanted to acquire the ability to paint realistic artworks.
The results are always a bit more weird than what I expected; some things just don’t work out the way I planned, or they simply develop in another direction. My work is almost entirely colour painting on canvas, and abstraction is my latest passion. I feel that it provides me with a different point of view to create my art, with a different motivation, or maybe it’s just a feeling of going back to childhood. Abstraction is to me the search for new shapes without the limitations of realism, surrealism or conceptualism, with which I worked with for quite a while. I think that’s what truly drew me to this journey.
Which personal experiences would you say have influenced the most in the current identity of your art?
We, people, are beings naturally drawn to sharing with others. We use ideas from one another, we experience things together and dream together. I think the people around me; my friends, my colleagues and the teachers I admire, influenced me the most in shaping my tastes and opinions. Also the drive for freedom, for going beyond the everyday uniform reality, makes you ask yourself questions such as: does drawing in a certain way, moment or about a specific subject make me feel freer and fulfilled? Of course this process goes both ways, one can’t be indifferent to the discoveries, tragedies and joys of the world around us. Through my art I aim to start a dialogue with the viewer, to show them that my world and my questions are theirs too.
The composition and motif of your paintings, as well as your unique way of using the colours surround your work in a mysterious, magical atmosphere. Where do you look when searching for creative inspiration?
I don’t do sketches or drawings on the canvas. Not even in my most classical or conceptual works. I like the spontaneity of ideas coming into shape naturally and finally giving the true meaning to my creation. However, this is not always straight forward. In my case, for instance, inspiration doesn’t come easy. Experience can help, but it can also stop you. Sometimes what you need to do in order to create something new is to escape yourself, but that can be the hardest part.
Which art currents do you find most inspiring and which artists would you point to as artistic references?
I think all currents and styles are important and inspiring. The question is what do you want to take from them and what works for you at a precise moment. The list of my favourite artist gathered throughout the years is long. Right now I’m more interested in experimenting with different materials, such as oil, various solvents, pigments, etc., and I look up to artists who display new technological processes.
What are the greatest satisfactions your career as an artist has brought and brings to your life?
A strange life and about ten of my paintings that I really like.
What are, in your opinion, the biggest challenges that artists face nowadays?
Nowadays it is a very common gesture to scroll down in our phones through hundreds of paintings of all sort of art styles, genres and time periods; but our eyes only stop at either the most scandalous ones, or at the easily “digestible” ones.
We, the contemporary artists, аre lost somewhere along that stream of visual information. Artworks are becoming ephemeral items that only last what the brief time lapse before we keep on scrolling. We find it difficult to spend a whole day in front of a contemporary art piece, as we would in front of Vermeer, for example.
Where could we find Nikola Alipiev when not painting?
What I love the most are lazy days.Those are the ones that really charge up my creative mind.