Petya Konstantinova was born on September 15 in Stara Zagora. He holds a degree in Bulgarian Philology from the Paisii Hilendarski School of Public Administration and Public Relations at the Kliment Ohridski Sofia University. He has been actively involved in painting for the last several years. He has worked with various publishing houses in Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic and China.

We spoke with the artist a month after her successful exhibition in Veliko Tarnovo. The exhibition, entitled "Magic", was opened at the Hadji Nikoli Inn on the 5th and lasted until July 25th (after it was extended). You will find out more about Petya Konstantinova, about art and about everyday "magic" from her answers…

How and when did you decide to present your works in Veliko Tarnovo?

The idea has been ripe for years, but the plans for an exhibition in the boyar town were realized thanks to a family from Turnovo, whom I met at my Plovdiv exhibition last December. Danny and Maya are the main "culprits" of the exhibition to happen, as they took the whole organizational initiative and made the connection between me and Khan "Hadji Nicoli". Then things happened quickly - we picked a date, we scheduled an opening and here - the exhibition happened!

What are your "Wizards"? What provokes the choice of the name of the exhibition?

Usually, when I am preparing an exhibition, I do not subordinate the paintings I draw to any special subject, but I leave myself to intuition and mood. The title comes to an end - I'm trying to capture the overall mood of the works. The "magic" here is those moments that make us stop and smile: to "jump" for a moment to childhood and to remember the taste of early cherries, to steal a weekend by the beach - be it on a caravan or a tent under open the sky, let us sink into the melody of a favorite song.

Last year I was at a concert of the Bulgarian choir "Angels" - a cappella performances of Bulgarian folk songs… The experience was amazing! I had never felt such an emotion so much before - now it grabs you by the throat and fills your eyes with tears, now it swings you gently in its melody and you become a warm and light, light… you feel like a tiny speck in the air.

"Magic" is the song of a street musician who seems to be blocking your path just in time and the words in his song seem to be just for you. These are the little magic - they are quite ordinary everyday life, and they devour your soul.

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To what extent have you consciously, or desired and sought to, infiltrate the realistic and the imaginary in the drawing process? What is the place of the everyday and the magical in your paintings?

When I paint, I often let go of my emotion and the plot in the picture arranges itself in the process of creating it. Sometimes this is an incident I've seen - a boy and a girl drinking coffee at adjacent tables in a student cafeteria and mentally saying to myself, "Yeah, these are going to talk now!" Then it will get dark and by the time they feel it, they will be in love. Then… then they can get married and have 3 children - Yavor, Kalina and Boyana. And that's how I make up people's lives (and they may not talk at all). And as I think about it, so I paint it.

And sometimes I just start with a line and build the whole drawing on the first shape of the sheet, without any preliminary idea. As for the magic - it is in everyday life, but we do not always have eyes for it. It's as if we don't always flicker on the same frequency as magic. And when you are in love - then everything seems like magic to you! You see nice signs all around you and if your soul flies, flies…

And why Prague? Why Houses, Cats, Carriers?

Prague happened unexpectedly, with a job offer to my husband four years ago. When he was invited to move there, we began to think and found that we knew almost nothing about Prague, we knew no one there, and we did not know whether we would be able to cope with such a great change. But the only way to know is to try. In the end, we can always come back if we decide… And that's how things happened. We've been there for four years. We do not make plans whether and how long we will stay, whether we will not change direction, when we will return. The thought of being there temporarily gives me some ease, and at the same time this "temporality" motivates us to travel more, to use the advantages of geography to visit near and far countries. (For example, Estonia is on the other side of Europe and traveling by car from Bulgaria seems endless, but if you leave Prague it is quite achievable with an overnight stay in the middle of the road.)

The story, the message, the mood… What determines your approach, technique and even the application of the stroke?

Maybe the mood I'm sitting in front of the sheet ?! It depends on him whether black will prevail or whether it will be bright and colorful.

Regardless of the theme, motives, idea, your works are recognizable. Does style define the creator or vice versa?

I think in the beginning it is the person who creates. From it begins what will appear - be it on a sheet, a notebook or a music note.

In your paintings, references to artistic texts are sometimes stolen. Considering your education, how do you combine fine arts with verbal art?

Foreign texts are often a source of inspiration and references to them appear naturally. Words and images are just different ways to express emotions and thoughts.

"Magic" also includes a cookbook with your illustrations. When did your interest in such a project come about? How did you go about working on it and what is the contribution of the painting?

The first painted recipe appeared almost ten years ago in the internal newsletter of the company I worked with. My task was to prepare the publication and, in addition to the specialized technical information in it, I had the freedom to choose the content of the last two pages. At that time, the company's office was almost out of town, and my colleagues were having lunch together in a large kitchen. During these lunches, recipes and tips were often exchanged, and it occurred to me to draw them in the form of recipes in a newsletter.

Over time, the recipes accumulated, transmitted to the Facebook page, and so easily and quickly reached their audience. The comments on the page encouraged me to put them together in a booklet, and when Potainich published that idea, things happened quickly and easily, and the booklet is already a fact. Working with the publisher greatly facilitates the preparation process, as creating a book is a very different process from drawing a recipe. The choice of format, printing, design layout in print cars - these are all new and unfamiliar processes for me and here the role of the publisher is leading. And what does the drawing contribute to? I hope it makes the presentation of a recipe more interesting and fun.

How does the text affect the image depicted by other means? What are the books or writers that influence you?


Text, music, drawing - everything interacts. Sometimes music provokes the image, sometimes the image - the text, the text - the music. At certain times, certain influences are stronger. I am influenced by texts in which I discover my own thoughts and recognize emotions. Lyrics and music that keep us in tune with one another at a time. At different ages my texts and authors were different and it will be difficult for me to list them all. I'll "frame" the beginning - with my first favorite Franz Caspar's Fridolin children's book and David Fouenkinos's "Memories", which I accidentally discovered last year and often recognize my thoughts between its pages.


You illustrate other, foreign works. Tell us about your experience with books, authors, publishers. And maybe for magazines, cards and calendars?


In recent years I have been working with a Czech publishing house and doing illustrations for their fairy tales. It was a lot of fun at first because I didn't speak the language well. With the publisher, we sat down for coffee, took out the book, and began to read stories. He was translating, and I was sketching illustrations and outlining the moments to be drawn. We must have been an interesting sight - old people reading stories in a cafe and scratching something in a red notebook.


I work for other publishers as well, but for myself I have found it difficult to work with foreign texts, and if there is no "soldering" between the text and the drawing - it simply does not work. Sometimes publishers contact me to use a ready-made drawing, and then it's easy. I also used to draw illustrations on a freelance theme - recently a Romanian children's magazine commissioned me to draw a freelance cover art. It turned out to be a very colorful cat cover.


When I was working in the advertising department of a company, I worked out the annual corporate calendar. Then I used other people's illustrations or ordered one (I still had no idea that one day I would have my author's calendar, but I dreamed of it). When I received my first royalties a year later (it was related to corporate website design), I had promised to put it in my calendar. And so the first author's calendar appeared. And after the first time it is easier. Once you get on the road, the next time it's easier. So for the seventh year I have been doing my author's calendar, and almost every year a company happens to contact me and ask me to draw their company calendar.


When and why did you focus on art? How did 10 years of experience in another area - PR in a trading company, advertising work, affect you?


I deliberately turned to painting 6 years ago, when I left the office environment to give myself a break from the stress there. Then I thought I'd give myself a break for a few months, "recharge the batteries" and go back to advertising. But things have taken a completely different direction. Resting, I painted a lot. I already had time for that pleasure. On the advice of my friends, I made a Facebook page.


This turned out to be an opportunity to show my works outside my circle of friends. While I was sending the CVs to different companies and wondering how to proceed, an opportunity for an exhibition appeared. The first exhibition led to a second… The first orders appeared, a book cover, a calendar of a veterinary clinic… This gave me the confidence to try to continue in this direction.

After philology and advertising, between the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, in travel and exhibitions, what kind of "magic" are you waiting for and what do you wish to be accomplished?


The best magic comes unexpectedly. For the last year, I've been trying to make plans and trips, and everything has failed with the most unexpected motives. This year I let things happen naturally and everything good is welcome. And the little "magic" happens in small steps: an impulsive jump to the sea, an unexpected dear friend of a guest, a letter on paper, a night in a tent… and the autumn favorite is yet to come!

You can find more of Petya Konstantinova's "magic" on her website:

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