What does it take to get into the Nikolai Pavlovich, the national Art Academy of Bulgaria, to vie for the six open slots each year?
For artist Angel Mihaylov, when he attained admission, it was his undergraduate training and the will to attract the attention of the selection committee among the 360 people who applied that year. As he remembers it, one is put into a room and asked to produce a painting in the classical style in a set amount of time. The paintings are anonymous and the jury of art professors chooses those who will enter the next class based on their work and not their reputation or who they know.
"I am very proud of being selected on my third try. I know people who took 10 years to get in," said Mihaylov.
Mihaylov will present two lectures for students and the general public at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., today, Nov. 5, in Room 112, of the BSU Education Arts Building. He will demonstrate his technique of working in layers of acrylic paints to achieve the effects of color and contrast. An opening reception for his work will be held at noon today in the Talley Gallery in Room 212 of the Education Arts Building.
In an interview translated from the Bulgarian by Natalia Himmirska, assistance professor of art at Bemidji State University, Mihaylov said in his graduate studies, he was drawn to the work of classic artists like Caravaggio and their play of light versus dark in their oil paintings. His diploma examination by the professors prior to graduation was work in Hyperrealism - painting which looks like a photograph. One professor asked him what he wanted to say with the picture, and Mihaylov replied that all he wanted or needed to say is in the picture itself. His answer drew the applause of those in the room. Artists know that what they want to say is in their work - either to be discovered by the viewer or is open to interpretation.
Mihaylov said he is drawn into his work where color and form are expressed through an intuitive process whereby he feels the life and pulse - the creative space of an artist which defies description or explanation.
A native of Bulgaria, Mihaylov moved to Cyprus with his wife after a visit there to view one of his solo exhibits. He said he liked the people, atmosphere and weather. He now lives and works in Cyprus with his family, teaches private students - sometimes getting them ready for the rigorous entrance exams at prestigious European art institutes - and sells his paintings to galleries in Europe and to private collections.
Mihaylov has placed first in two contests of the Annual Nude Painting Contest of the National Arts Academy and has numerous displays of his work in art institutes and galleries in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Germany.
While visiting friends in Cyprus, Himmirska, ventured into one such gallery and discovered his work. She asked Mihaylov if he would come to Bemidji for a solo exhibit and also to give lecture-demonstration to the art students on his style of realistic painting. She applied for and received grants from Region 2 Arts Council, Bemidji Area Arts Endowment, BSU College of Arts and Sciences and SAFAC and the long journey from Cyprus to Bemidji became reality.
Mihaylov arrived in Bemidji Monday, Nov. 2, and will stay for about a week before traveling to St. Louis and San Francisco. This is his first time in the United States, and he said he is enjoying his visit although claims that the weather here is very cold. His exhibit will be in the Talley Gallery of the BSU Education Arts Building through November. A price list of the painting is available.