About the artist
This week’s artist interview is with Nikolay Devnenski. Nikolay is a digital artist and web/graphic designer, originally from Munich, Germany, he is currently living in Spain. He graduated with a Master of Arts degree from the National Academy of Art in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Nikolay’s artwork is collage-based with a leaning towards pop-art; he uses an eclectic mixture of photography and graphic elements, edited to produce a painterly appearance. His story-like subjects explore the possible symbiosis of two different cultural universes; the modern one and the renaissance/middle century art in a perpetual search for harmony.
How did you first get into digital art?
Seven years ago, when I start working as a creative designer in Munich, Germany. My work consisted mainly of digital manipulation of stock photography. I quickly realised that I could use those techniques and abilities to substitute the canvas and paper at home and save some space.
Why did you choose digital art as your medium?
I had a laptop on my lap for 16 hours a day; I could not resist the temptation. Digital art helps me compose images quickly, and gives me a greater connection between idea and medium.
What artistic styles are you particularly drawn to?
The range is extensive, or I could say nothing in particular. For me, the artistic uniqueness outweighs any style, although many artists have been forced to obey the rules from their peer circles, or the patrons of art.
Tell us about the process you use to make your art.
My inspiration comes from many places. Many ideas come from my past experiences and memories. I’ll also search through my image folders for photos I’ve shot for both specific projects and for reference and stock. The first idea I get is usually the best one; everything comes naturally after that.
What inspires you?
The eclectic — you can see from my portfolio that it’s a mixture of renaissance and gothic art, along with the phenomenon of modern tastes like fashionably dressed plastic mannequins. Am I looking for and enjoying the eclectic? Yes, it’s there at every turn, and it has been always here.
What is your artistic motivation?
I wouldn’t call it motivation – to accomplish God’s plan, I suppose. The idea that someone decides for us may sound heretical for most of the people in our present, but I still believe in predestination.
Which three words or phrases would you use to describe your work?
Curious in the conceptuality
Conceptual in the creativity
Creative in the curiosity
Name three artists who inspire you.
It’s difficult for me to answer that question as I don’t have a direct influence from anyone. For me, artists like Anselm Kiefer, Ai Weiwei or Andy Warhol show me that there are no rules and there’s no limit when it comes to ‘inside out’ artistic expression.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you started making art?
It may sound clichéd, but it’s not possible to go back; therefore, it is not worth considering what it could be. Could I do it better? No, because I did what I had to do at the time.
What devices/equipment do you use to create your art?
I work on both Mac and PC. Curiously I don’t like to use a tablet. As I rarely apply brushes in my work, I’m OK with the mouse.
Which apps/programs do you use to create your art and which are your favourites?
I work mostly in Photoshop, sometimes with the help of Adobe Illustrator. My favourite plugins are in the Nik Collection by DxO.
Do you use images from stock sites as well as your photos and if so, which are your favourites and why?
I use my photographic material for 90% of the time; the rest are pictures from clients or Creative Commons CC0 images. I realised that choosing the most suitable imagery in my work helps the experience I have as a creative designer. I spent months searching and buying stock photography in my previous job as a web/graphic designer.
And finally, do you find that people dismiss digital art as a valid art form?
The conventional mediums used in producing art are still ‘The King’. The clients tend to trust oil/acrylic painting as the only one instance providing a ‘unique and original masterpiece’. Some of my clients relate digital art mostly to graphic design and photos edited with Photoshop for advertising. It’s not easy to convince people that the medium is only a medium.
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and artwork with us, Nikolay!
You can find links to more of Nikolay’s art in his entry in our Artists’ Directory.