In conversation with

In Conversation With: Simona Ruscheva

For today’s In Conversation With, we have the pleasure to share with you our interview with the contemporary figurative artist Simona Ruscheva. Read below to discover her artistic research and influences!
29th July 2021 | Image Curators Advisory
Simona Ruscheva.“Can you really see”, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 70 cm. Courtesy: The Artist
Simona, you are a contemporary figurative artist from Bulgaria currently living in London. How do you fuse your cultural background with your art and what inspires you the most?
My works have a very strong connection to Bulgarian culture, which is the entryway to an endless sea of explorations. The fact that I am living in London makes it very natural to me to seek a connection [with my homeland] in this way and keep in close reach of my roots.

I use a lot of different traditional elements like embroidery, rugs and ceramic designs, but I also like to delve into the symbols used in those elements, because everything is there for a reason and is a visual language and a map to understanding the core values we have.

I think, especially in today's society where everything is changing so fast, it is really important to have knowledge about history and culture as these are extremely important in shaping ourselves as people and giving us context to who we are. This brings me to the second side of my works, which is actually the focal point that goes beyond the visual. It is our essence, our core, the true self that is inside, wrapped in multiple physical layers.

My biggest inspiration comes from reading, especially mythology, esotericism, folk tales, anything that deals with life beyond the material world.
Simona Ruscheva. “Tonka and the Beast”, Oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm. Courtesy: The Artist
The most important thing is to work. The second most important thing is the business side. You cannot have one or the other, it is a balance of both.
Simona Ruscheva
Your works are imbued with different layers of meaning and symbolism, how would you describe your creative process and what do you seek to explore with your paintings?
Usually I start with an idea that I then develop with a few sketches. I do little
photoshoots where possible to accommodate my ideas and use those images
as references. Sometimes I would make some sort of a collage if I am not
entirely happy with one image. I also have a huge amount of photos, either
digital or in books and albums, that I use elements of, especially for my
symbolical geometric backgrounds. They are all elements from embroideries,
folk costumes, ceramics, rugs and others. But I am interested more in what they
represent, so that they add another layer to my works and complete them in
adding another twist of symbolism.

The idea of layering is actually something I have been exploring for a while, that
is with multiple layers of clothing, jewellery, etc and we are actually right at the center. However before you reach the centre you have to take off all the layers,
revealing new depths, like layers of onion.
The majority of your subjects are women - is there a particular reason for that?
To some extent, yes. In a lot of works I have the idea of the Mother Goddess, or a
feminine energy in another form, giving life and holding the thread of life. Also
women have richer costumes and adornments that I really enjoy painting. I
have a small collection of folk dresses with the additional belts, aprons, jewellery,
etc., all for women, that I use in my photoshoots too.
Life and art are about embracing change, problem solving and brain teasing, it is never just about the painting.
Simona Ruscheva
You have now exhibited several times both in group and solo exhibitions. What is something about the art world that you wish you knew when you started?
The most important thing is to work. The second most important thing is the
business side. You cannot have one or the other, it is a balance of both. Also if
you don’t take action, nothing will ever change and it becomes stagnant. Life
and art are about embracing change, problem solving and brain teasing, it is
never just about the painting.
Do you have any particular project or exhibition coming up?
I am participating in a series of online group shows, organised by WOWxWOW. I
am very excited about them as I am a huge fan of theirs, have been following
them for years and have discovered some of my personal favourite artists
there. The first show goes live on 6th August and is called “Stardust Antennas”.
Simona Ruscheva. “Radiate", Oil on canvas, 60 x 70 cm. Courtesy: The Artist.
Where can people purchase your artworks?
The best place to look at is my website. I have a section with available works that I update regularly. Also, I first release new works via my newsletter, so that would be the best place to see them in advance and you can sign up here.
Simona Ruscheva

Born in Bulgaria, Simona Ruscheva is a contemporary figurative artist who currently lives and works in London.

Graduated from the Fine Art Painting in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, Ruscheva imbues her oil paintings with folklore tales and mystical women.

Her multicultural upbringing strongly influenced her research into themes of migration, cultural diversity and globalisation. Hers is a contemporary interpretation of Bulgarian culture, emphasising on the mystical and esoteric aspect of it.

In her canvases, she explores various subjects from Bulgarian folklore and cultural heritage, using very traditional elements and objects, such as embroidery and pottery designs, with mythological themes and universal symbols.

Simona Ruscheva has exhibited on several occasions in the UK and in Bulgaria. In July 2021, she was shortlisted for Kate Bryan art prize and in 2019 for the Art Rooms Awards. In 2018, she has her solo show “The source” in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has also participated in various group shows across London, including at the Society of Women Artists Annual Exhibition and the Royal Institute of British Artists Annual exhibition, where her work was Highly Commended by the De Laszlo Foundation. Recently she became a member of the ArtCan artists organisation.

See more of her available artworks here