Simona Slavova is a young international illustrator and visual artist. In this interview, she will take us on her artistic journey and talks about inspiration, colors, collaborations with other artists and the importance of going with the flow. Her visual art can be appreciated in various articles on our website. Without any further introduction - let's dive into the colorful world of Simona.
visuals by Simona Slavova
interview by Pia Stautner
What kind of art are you doing?
I am an illustrator, but I also like to consider myself a visual artist of some kind as I prefer not to limit myself with a title. I like creating and this comes in very different shapes.
What do you want to express and/or explore with your art?
There is no difference between what I try to explore with my art and what I want to explore as a person. For me those two are the same. I think art is my way of expressing who I am and who I am becoming through my different experiences. I do try to transmit feelings which are hard to articulate and I guess colors are helping me a lot to do that. I love how throughout the years you can recognize yourself in the things you created; you are able to reflect on them as if you were reading a diary in which you had written a long time ago.
Why colors and what do they mean to you?
Colors are my best friends. With using them, I really like to express moods . I think they can be as impactful as shapes or texts. They transmit so much and they usually affect our subconsciousness to an extent that other means of expression could never do. For me, it all started with Pop Art and the unexpected strong color combinations in it. I try to adapt a lot of that in my art works. It could just as well be a phase, but for now I am still not done.
What/who inspires you to create art?
There is definitely no strict formula to that. I keep finding my own ways to it and through it. To be honest, it can be anything, really. When we are talking about my motivation to create art, then it is definitely me trying to express myself in a shape, which is closer to the reality in my mind than words could ever be. Furthermore, I do often find myself inspired by the music I listen to. I like grabbing a word or phrase that has stuck with me and to turn it into something visual.
You were part of the first turtle collaboration project, in which you worked together on a project outside of turtle. Can you briefly explain what this project was about?
That was indeed such a pleasure for me. I was part of the collaboration, alongside the Public Climate School in Munich, and I created a series of posters which were used for an event that took place at the University (LMU). It was really nice, not only because I love the causes they fight for - of course, I do - but I was also able to broaden my community through this project. I love how turtle connects us with new people and gives us the chance to collaborate.
Do you like to collaborate with other artists? How was it to work with Simon on the project for the Public Climate School?
I liked it a lot. The communication was easy and I think we both liked each other’s ideas. I am only sad, that due to the pandemic, the process was online, but I am looking forward to the time we can all meet in person again as well.
Collaborating in general is something I have not explored enough yet, but I would really love to change that. I believe it’s a wonderful thing to see how artistic minds can collide and create together.
What do you feel when you see your artwork being exhibited?
I’ve started exhibiting and selling my work only recently and, honestly, I was afraid to do so, but when you actually go for it and overcome your fear, it feels amazing. Of course, the feelings of self-doubt and self-criticism will always come up when you put your work out there, but I believe it is all worth it. It was such a pleasure for me to get in touch with the people who had come to see my work and I appreciated hearing what other people see in what I created. I love that exchange and I think it gives a whole new meaning to being an artist.
What projects are you currently working on and what project comes next?
I am currently finishing some projects which I started during my last semester, so it is a lot of traditional drawing and linocut at the moment. I am actually enjoying it very much as I have been working mainly digitally recently, so it is nice to alternate it with something that demands a lot more of your concentration and focus.
When choosing what comes next, I think I rely a lot on signs and coincidence. I do believe that the best things happen naturally, so I apply that in my creative process as well. Just like how I got introduced to turtle: I had not been specifically looking for it, but it found me and it turned out to be great.
When it comes to your career, is there something you want to achieve within the next year(s)?
Actually, this is a very special year for me as I am graduating in a month from now and I am about to start a very new chapter of my life. My main goal will be to live on my art only, as soon as possible. Hopefully, I will not have to make too much compromises with myself to be able to do that. I am not going into this naively, but I know it will take a lot of risk and self-motivation as it is for sure not an easy path I am choosing. And of course, as always, I aim to further develop myself, never to settle for comfort zones, neither in what I do nor where I am.
Is there a topic/tabu that should be talked about more in society with the help of art, music and literature?
My initial answer would be – there should not be a topic that art should not reach. I believe art has the power to touch people in various different ways and to make them feel something, without them even being able to explain why. I think this power can be used not only to make people feel admiration and appreciation towards creations, but also to confront and to provoke them with them. I love how art can make you think and how a single image or a written sentence can stick with you for days and make you find new meanings to it all by yourself.
In that sense, I think we can and should definitely use art to talk even more about climate change, about war and peace, equality, selflove, mental health - about anything that we set our hearts on and fight for. I guess what matters the most is to do it with honest intentions.
Thank you so much for your time and your inspiring answers to our questions!