Andrea Popyordanova

Andrea Popyordanova

Loving the distinctive illustration style of Andrea Popyordanova, who is based in Bulgaria, where she is from, and Scotland, where she recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. I love her varied, playful style and deceptively simple forms and compositions. Influenced by painters like Bonnard and Rousseau, as well as travels and collaborations with others, her projects take the form of prints and books, and are all absolutely fun and lovely!

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YS: What first interested you in art, or in illustration?

AP: I've always been drawing. My dad used to paint so ever since I was really young I was naturally attracted to all the tools, paints, pencils that were always lying around. My best friend was also a lot into drawing so often when we were invited to each other's houses, we would draw for hours. We would illustrate the books we were reading, or draw underwater seascapes, or design board games. Drawing was our favorite game. 

What or who have been some of your most significant influences?

The visual things that have inspired me the most are definitely films, photographs, buildings, or landscapes I've seen. I have a few favorite painters, one of them is Bonnard, who uses a really amazing palette of colors and draws situations that I identify with, very personal and somehow ordinary, but spectacular moments of people's lives. I also really love Rousseau, who painted jungles even though he never saw a real one. And Lucien Hervé whose photographs I love looking at, an amazing work on light and architecture. One of the people that really inspired me to pursue illustration was an artist I saw on a talk in the Edinburgh College of Art in my second year, called Isidro Ferrer. He has a limitless imagination and playful approach to visual communication. 

What is your process like? Your projects are all unique from one another; where do you get your ideas?

My process is very instinctive. I usually start with choosing colors, even though I can add more later, or sometimes even with a little corner of a drawn page where I see something catchy. The more I build the image, the more it kind of feeds into itself, giving me more directions to go into. I do a lot of drawing from observation, which is where all my colors, compositions, faces, and marks come from, just in an order that I put them into. That's where my ideas for briefs come from too, things I've noticed, people I've heard talking about something interesting, or just a memorable landscape. 

Can you describe your studio or workspace?

I was very lucky to have a studio one year after graduation, which finished just now. So I've been working in my friends' living rooms for the past two months, and now I am in the process of establishing not exactly a studio, but a convenient working space in my home, in Bulgaria, for some time. It's quite fascinating, because this is where I've been dumping a lot of my old drawings, flyers and bits of paper from almost every location I've traveled to, and letters, from all of my five years of living outside of home. It's a treasure, which I will probably use in my upcoming work.

What do you enjoy most about making your work? Or what is the most exciting aspect of pursuing your art?

I really love to see how things evolve in the process of making them. I try to never imagine exactly what I want to make as a final image, because I think this would block me. In terms of pursuing this way, I find it quite exciting what people have been in touch with me for doing work for them. The art therapy cards I work on at the moment are a really good project that got me into thinking about how simple an image can be to express an idea. It's a lot of using colors/ shapes as symbols to evoke an idea, careful to not overwhelm the people using the cards and influence their imagination and drawing process. I wouldn't have been involved with such a project now if I hadn't been contacted by someone to do it.   

What do you find to be the most challenging thing about pursuing art?

It's really challenging to stay focused and motivated. Daily I have so many ideas, but sitting and believing in just one, and then doing it until the end, is extremely hard for me. That's why I need people around me, preferably doing the same, with which I can exchange and discuss. The other thing is distraction, not only because I have to organize my week on my own, but also because of this pool of images in which we are drowning daily. It's hard to not get influenced by what I see or what I see to not trigger completely new, random and useless ideas. Sometimes I think the only way to be productive would be to escape somewhere isolated, but then I don't like isolation most of the times. It's an endless loop. 

What do you need most as an artist?

I realized very much in the past few months I really need active and creative (in all meanings of the word) people. I think that a discussion of my work and in the same time of other people's work makes my work simply better. What I've chosen to do is after all a piece of communication, not just simply beautiful images, so I do always need to know what it says to others. Seeing how others work is equally exciting because people's minds are so different, their way of resolving briefs (in my case) or any type of problems is very personal. Being in conversation for me is a way to be in my time, to know where I am. 

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?

At the moment I am starting work on a few of my own briefs, which I never had time to develop. This time finally came! I really want to make a book about cities, with a lot of buildings and cityscapes in it. I am also starting a collaboration with a good friend of mine and a visual artist on the theme of music. I am so happy I will work on the same project with someone else, whose work I am fond of. It will be launched online soon! 

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Find more at cargocollective.com/andreapopyordanova!

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