with Vladimir Hristov, Contemporay Painter
to Artist by © Rocío Heredia
please tell us something about yourself, where did you grow up, and what
did you dream to become when a child?
I was born and grown up in Skopje, Macedonia. It is in the centre of the
Balkan Peninsula. It is a small country but characterized by extremes,
with really hot and dry summers, but very cold winters. Macedonians are
absolutely beautiful and warm people of temper and excitement, who live
in the extraordinary formed nature sites coloured in Mediterranean light,
all spiced with mystery ancient legends and stories.
I guess all of this has been one of the influences that formed the artist
in me. On the other hand I was lucky to have lived in a wonderful artistic
family, which is still always beside me. I have always been surrounded
with screenplays, art books, sketches, paintings and prints, theatre stage
design and 3D-built models lying all around, and the artists who were
always visiting my parent's home. My grandfather was a naïve painter and
craftsmen, my father is a theatre artist and my brother theatre and movie
Today at 32, I am living with my girlfriend Daniela in Amsterdam, The
Netherlands, "The Drugs & Sex" capital city of Europe. I
am struggling for my desires, i.e. being an artist and succeed as such
in this society just like any other person making his path through his/her
Vladimir, what brought you to Fine Arts after you studied Science
in High School? I am personally curious about what led you to make this
change as I first studied as Psychologist, and now I'm a Metal Artist.
What pushed you to make this change?
I was always impressed by the human beings' phenomena. That is why I had
a need to study science, i.e. biotechnology. I was looking for a way to
find some more about living creatures. I just gradually came to the certainty
that the only way for me to do that was through art. Although I must say
that I am still very interested in subjects that try to explain human
nature and behavior in a scientific way.
When were you first aware of your artistic talent? Did studying
Fine Art brought you to express it?
During my school days for as long as I can remember I knew I was not in
a lack of imagination and/or drawing & painting skills. But for me
that was really natural and was never taken as something special nor had
only been one crucial moment that made me aware of my artistic talent.
Just after living over my personal adolescent dilemmas I decided that
what I really wanted to do in my live was art. I concentrated on the artistic
part of my individuality and developed my own style.
Would you give us your personal definition of Art?
That would be awfully hard and difficult, especially because I am not
supposed to write an essay here. But I will give you some idea of what
it might be.
Art is the man's activity of making and expressing analyses on his/her
surrounding and his/her relationships with it. Differently from science,
art does not deal with standards and facts and is not expressed in numbers
and postulates. It can not be proven with simplified and repetitive experiments,
and finally it does not only deal with "what one can see" but
also with "what one can feel". Furthermore art can depend only
on one's pure instinct and imagination. That is why it can not be so easily
What is your favourite medium, which qualities determine your
My favourite medium is acrylic or a mixed technique of acrylic and oil
on canvas. It gives me the chance of working fast and not to always wait
for long for the paint to dry. Also, the acrylic paint has really vibrant
colours, strong and true expressiveness. It is very loud and intense.
It definitely suits my dynamics. On the other hand oil paint is calm and
easy, smooth, deep and mysterious. Using both, in a delicate manner, makes
me able to express my ideas at best on the surface of the "holy"
Which movements have you been influenced by? Has your admiration
for any other Artist influenced your work?
Although I really can not pick up only one movement or person, I will
anyway mention some who are truly constantly present in my studio. They
are a few Byzantine Macedonian Fresco painters, the inevitable Beato Angelico,
Botticelli, El Greco and Gustav Klimt, and a little known in the Western
world but wonderful painter from Macedonia called Konde.
There are many movements and concepts which are important for me. Starting
with Byzantine Art, through Renaissance and Middle Age art, some impressionists
and expressionist and pre WW2 era, abstract expressionists and "en-formell",
through Pop Art till minimalism and conceptualism, there are always some
things that evoke certain admiration.
Please define your style. Would you explain how you have developed
it to its current very unique status?
I would like to think of my style as: to have all the styles and genres
laying available around me. All I must do then is to pick up things that
I like and find that are useful to my idea. Then it does not matter to
which style they belong, with no matter of thinking abot the alibi. The
fact that the matter of techniques in painting has been previously seen
as almost as a real perfection, does not implies neither like burden of
the past nor excuse not to take the challenges to explore art using the
advantages that have already been proven. What really matters is which
emotion and which telepathic message the work evokes in the public. I
try to communicate with one's conscious and subconscious on the same level.
Often using old traditional technique, I try to find my own way of presenting
my vision in contemporary life.
I wonder if you are influenced by a particular space or place
Yes, that is very important to my art as it is in my everyday's life.
The change of colours from Macedonia where I grew up and developed as
an artist, to the ones in Holland where I have been living for the last
several years allows me to see the other meanings of lights and colours,
atmosphere, peoples differences, other countries horizons, etc. That definitely
influences my work deeply. Maybe that is why I like to change my environments
rather than being in just one all my life.
How do human beings impact your paintings?
The human being and its nature are crucial in my process of creating art.
I very rarely avoid involving the presence of humans in my paintings.
They have all my admiration as the highest God's creature on the planet
we know. Still, my intention is not to congratulate them on the way they
are or to just present how they look like in some particular moment or
in a particular place, but to find out things from beyond the front layer.
Often my creatures are only human-like, they are human in form and shape
but have the implication of not to be such.
I'm tempted to ask if you paint from a preliminary sketch.
No, I never make previous sketches neither I have a precise detailed plan
on what will be my next painting. I rather enjoy the moment of creation
in every painting session.
Will you take us into your creative process? Where do you get
I don't really believe in the real "moment of inspiration".
I don't believe there is only one moment when everything becomes clear,
I rather think that every single moment is a valuable piece of "the
mosaic". That is why I just simply add and subtract elements on the
canvas during all the process of making a painting. I first work on the
empty canvas with drawing lines searching for the composition, then I
spontaneously look for the forms inside, and find the volumes and colours.
I do so every single day until I see that the painting is done. Sometimes
it is almost like some other Vladimir is working on the painting. I am
very often surprised the next day when I see what I have done in the previous
painting session. Then I try to select the elements I find appropriate
tod find the logic inside that communicate with the previously "subconsciously"
While looking through your Résumé, I found you were Art Director
of several movies. Will you please tell us about that?
I have been very interested in Film and Video since I was a child. Making
the design for stage or for a film is like creating a huge sculpture or
painting or an art installation. The fact that my brother was the film
director on most of them made things even more enjoyable.
It is easy for you to combine those two things: multimedia projects
and painting. What relationship do you see between them?
They are both visual media arts. They both deal with similar problems,
and they can easily complement to each other. The fact that multimedia
is so young makes it more excited and seductive, on the other hand painting
as a media for itself and exists for thousands of years, and have survived
till today. They communicate between perfectly till certain level and
than they just go to each own ways.
What have been the favourite projects to date in your career,
There is no favourite project that I have worked on. Simply because I
haven't been working very often on projects that I don't like.
What is your purpose as an artist?
The goal is to be able to express my visions of other humans and non-humans,
i.e. spirits and ghosts, gods and demons, etc. If some of them become
highly emotionally affected by a painting of mine, than already one of
the tasks that I have is achieved.
How do you think Internet will affect Art? Do you think that the
Internet has positive and/or negative effects on Art?
The Art is much bigger and more powerful in human civilization than Internet.
Therefore Internet can not really damage art. It can only be positive
but maybe only in longer term. It seems sometimes that all those "new
technologies" produce "cheep" art, but I believe that it
will come to the point when all will find its place and will work together
perfectly. Please do not forget the new possibilities that Internet offers.
For example, otherwise I wouldn't be doing this interview and spreading
my art beliefs to the Web Gallery viewers.
What do you hope visitors to this exhibition at BTDesign Art Gallery
will gain from viewing it?
I hope they will recognize the quality and freshness in my art, and will
be enjoying in my works.
What are your immediate plans for your future? On what are you
currently working? Would you give us a preview?
I am intensively preparing exhibitions, i.e. painting and finding appropriate
places where to exhibit the works. In between, I am busy with other things
as usual, like building interesting Web sites and some designs. I am also
evolved in my brother's next feature film project, for which we will have
preview on Internet soon.
Do you feel you have been personally blessed since embracing the
life of an Artist?
Yes, definitely I think that being an artist is an honour profession with
own duties. It has its disadvantages, but being an artist is the only
way of living I can go through and being satisfied with. That is because
I can not ignore my visions, my need of visual expressing, and needs of
movement and dynamic in the process of thinking and creating things. I
find it as a most pleasant entrapment. So, I think it is a kind of blessing.
Finally, If you could offer one bit of advice to the emerging
artists what would it be?
Try to make things in any possible way, or try to see most different ways
of making things, but search for yours, and don't pay too much attention
on others opinion. But you must do all that while being aware of the fact
that that particular way is not the only one. That is very important in
understanding the paths of the things, and the only way of how to build
your own foundation. And never, but never go for the "cheap"
excuse, or easy appreciation. You should always ask for beyond that.
Dear Vladimir, me and I am sure our viewers, appreciate your time
and responses to my questions.
Interview © November 2002 Rocío Heredia.
All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is forbidden. Originally
BTDesign Art Gallery.
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