"Melting demons", "metal butterflies", "dancing ballerinas", "nut robots" and other bizarre creatures - this is the art of Chudomir Dragnev. Called by many "Bulgarian Frankenstein", he and his colleagues from the studio "Looneytools" give new life to metal materials from our past, transforming them into art of the future. Thanks to their enthusiasm and perfectionism, a very popular world trend - "steampunk" culture - broke through on the home stage. Steampunk or retrofuturism gained popularity in the 80s and 90s and combines elements of fantasy, history, and horror. Steampunk's works feature ancient technology or futuristic innovation, combining them. with sensitivity and nostalgia for the past - especially Victorian fashion, architectural style and art. The trend is particularly strongly influenced by the novels of Jules Verne, Herbert Wells and Mary Shelley.)
We talk about one of the most creative and original talents in contemporary Bulgarian passport Chudomir Dragnev about the talent to create "out of nothing," about inspiration, courage and responsibility.
On this hot September day, where do we find you?
As usual in the workshop.
You studied marketing and management, as well as biology and chemistry. How does your interest in metalplastics fit into this modern steampunk?
I just found my own path, which is quite different from what I was preparing for. Biology is definitely helpful to me in creating most of the forms and in conveying the movement. As far as marketing is concerned, I really want someone else to deal with this part, and I focus solely on my creations and those of my team.
In the 2013 year you founded Looneytools Studio ... What has changed over the 4 years since then?
Most of all, I changed myself. You cannot stay the same when you realize the gravity of the path you have chosen and all the responsibilities it carries.
Increasingly, Looneytools have participated in various forums, exhibitions and festivals, both in Bulgaria and abroad. During the 2012 year you are part of EuroSteamCon in Budapest, Hungary and On Fest in Sofia. During 2013 you participate in Mini Art Fest at Studio Fo - Sofia and SOHO Steampunk Weekend - Sofia. You are the organizer of the Looneytools exhibition at the Urban Art Factory in Sofia, as well as at The HUB Club in Montana. You also recently appeared on The New York Times ... Do you consider your artwork on the mainstream today?
More important is whether people consider us part of modernity. What we have achieved and continue to do with the people of the Looneytools team cannot be ignored.
Do you use special materials for your work, or rather is it a "nothing-to-do" recycling art?
Yes, our style is just like this - "out of nothing." However, the elements we use can rarely be seen elsewhere. We get support from a lot of companies whose materials are, so to speak, difficult to find.
Where do you get your waste for your job?
We have details from both large airline companies and auctions of bankrupt factories. We also have a wide range of companies whose waste is our constant source of materials and inspiration.
Do you have a favorite "theme" for the shapes?
Oh, of course! "Fairytale" and "illusory" are a passion for both me and my colleagues.
What about the format? Does it "emerge" in the process of work or do you have an idea in your head?
Because each of us, fortunately, is not academically charged, we allow the material to guide us. I think this approach is the best way to express yourself and your vision of the world and the reality around you.
How do you rest?
There is no rest from the ideas… The only possible way to relax is to communicate with nature.
From the work of which of your colleagues, in the world, have you been respected and influenced?
That's enough… I will mention just a few: Greg Brotherton, Stephane Halleux, Vasily Vorobyov е It is inspiring to watch the work of colleagues from around the world. This stimulates you and makes you not stop, to search, to go beyond yourself…
In Bulgaria, does the artist house feed?
Anything that you put enough effort into and give yourself away will pay off sooner or later. It is important for a person to find and follow his own path, at the cost of everything. Unfortunately in Sofia there are few galleries and places in general that are interested in art like ours. Most "art" venues are prepared only for the "usual" - presenting and trading paintings. In the background, it seems that the alternative forms of art, installations, and metal-plastic remain in our case.
What lies ahead of Chudomir Dragnev in personal and professional terms?
I too can't wait to find out. The most interesting thing that awaits us with Looneytools is the participation in the next edition of the German Fregs of Nature Festival at the beginning of July 2018.