I Capture My Friends’ Personalities In Oil Paintings
I'm Tanya Atanasova, I'm a contemporary realist artist born in Bulgaria, based in Antwerp, Belgium.
At the moment I’m working on a large series of portraits of people I know very well or people that have played an important role in my life throughout the years. This two-and-a-half-year project, in which I want to capture more than just the outer appearance of my models is called “You, my dear” and is all about friendship.
In my artistic practice, I use a lot of modern painting techniques to create the different “layers” of a personality, character, spirit, presence… I devote a lot of attention to the construction of my character’s personalities. Being interested in the psychology of my models, I want to become an intermediary between subject and viewer – building a connection that goes beyond painted realism. My gaze is directed deep into the story of every personage, I create his/her identity and unique complexity. Looking at the paintings should be like taking a glimpse into the character’s diary or reading a page out of his/her biography.
I have started this project two years ago doing everything on my own: traveling far to interview my models and get some pictures, working long days in my atelier, developing the website, buying materials, painting for months, crating, shipping, writing, publishing … But it still is a project of great importance to me - this is my way of saying “thank you” to these people for being next to me all these years. I’m telling their stories, I’m painting/celebrating the link with them!"
Lou, oil on Belgian linen, 120 x 110cm, 2019.
Michel, oil on Belgian linen, 120 x 110cm, 2016.
Judith, dancing, oil on Belgian linen, 200 x 60cm, 2017.
Michel with octopus, oil on Belgian linen, 120 x 110cm, 2016.
Smokey eyes / Joëlle, oil on Belgian linen, 120 x 110cm, 2017.
Philip dyeing his beard and eyebrows with henna, oil on Belgian linen, 110 x 110cm, 2018.
Guillaume, oil on Belgian linen, 120 x 110cm, 2018.
Lore, entangled, oil on Belgian linen, 130 x 120cm, 2017.
Jens, oil on Belgian linen, 140 x 110cm, 2018.
Connected II, oil on Belgian linen, 70 x 100cm, 2017.
Octoman Michel, oil on Belgian linen, 150 x 120cm, 2017.