For Ivan Stratiev more important is the pleasure of, as he describes it "moving in depth when you discover the second and third plan in the picture". Sometimes the viewer overtakes the artist and finds much more than the artist himself. Art begins from there, behind the canvas pane. And what is there? No kings or princesses - others are the characters in the magic space of Ivan Stratiev. They appear like in fairy tales - strange and unexpected, from nine lands to a tenth, in a distant domination and even bear familiar names like Eve, Leda, Gulliver, St. George, Noah and take unfamiliar forms. There you can meet stone fish, flying trees, pumpkin scientists, castle in helmet, fighting hens, even a wooden hammer sickle.
Ivan Stratiev's paintings are like portals through which the machine of fantasy passes and sinks into them, instantly it affects the brightness of the images. Surrealistic or hyper realistic transformation/ reproduction of the artistic image is extremely difficult and can easily break up into stupid grotesque, even kitsch. Ivan Stratiev does it cleverly because he has long and patiently mastered it, an etude after an etude, following a clear artistic principle without slaving the shrill "screams" of modern painting. In these conversations, he continuously experimented and sought his own utterance. Landscapes are the other important part of the journey through forests and waters. It is like the world of the Grimm brothers - houses, mountains, animals, seas and lakes, waterfalls, bridges, churches, haystacks are made with some pastoral imagery, with a magical patina that they brighten and translate into the Stratiev's kingdom. And as we know from children, it's always nice to live for a while in a fairy tale. This is confirmed by the classics. According to the ideologue of the surrealism Andre Breton, "Fairytale is always good".
But the strongest experience in the Stratiev's Kingdom is the encounters with surrealistic creatures, we call them so for their impressive vitality. In most cases, these are well-known heroes of myths and legends in a metaphysical landscape, artistically and imaginatively transformed. The metamorphosis of the images is expressive, but with unconditional observance of the measure. The boundary between magical and fantastic is almost imperceptible - sometimes we fall into science-fiction stories, not knowing whether beings are aliens on Earth or watching a life on a strange planet.
The Stratiev's Kingdom or chronicle of Wizard Ivan: Ivan Stratiev is born on November 28, 1960 in the city of Trun, Bulgaria. He graduated from the Art High School in Sofia and from the Veliko Tarnovo University "St. Cyril and Methodius" specializing in graphics. He is a member of Sofia Artists Association since 1992. The artist participated in many general and solo exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad, including in several editions of "EcoArt" - Rousse and in the first declared anachronistic exhibition in Bulgaria.
His individual exhibitions are over 35. He does not bond to fashion concepts and supernatural styles, but uses in his creative pursuits the means of performance, installation, happening, conceptual art and art photography. He works mostly with the techniques of oil painting and watercolor or graphic techniques - lithography and etching. The artist collects old household objects, creating an anachronistic environment for its famous still-life paintings. His paintings are characterized by a classic drawing of complex symbols in metaphysical, surrealistic and anachronistic terms, harmoniously combined with realistic images.
His creative Credo: "The freedom to make mistakes is a powerful stimulus in art" and he adds "Draw, every picture is a step towards perfection, though unachievable."