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All of us, most often, work within our comfort zones and hardly try to step away as we are afraid of what is outside the box. But those who take on the risks are fearless, they challenge the norm and in the end become great influencers of the world. Our artist in conversation today is Iren Krum, a wonderful lady from Bulgaria who, on her own impacted the world of art. Speaking with her is very inspiring. At a time when most create art to satisfy the world, Iren is an inspiration to all of us. We are so privileged to present this interview today!

How long have you been painting?

I have been painting since I was a small child. My father was an architect and my mother was a pianist and there were many conversations about art in my home. So I can say that I come from an aesthetic family.

Who are your greatest influencers?

To be honest, I don't have any influencers as such, but music; be it classical, modern, rock and roll, plays a vital role in inspiring me to create art. Some music has to be played in the background for me to paint!

Did you have a formal education on art and painting or are self-taught?

Yes, I have formal education on art. I attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria for 5 years where I learnt classical art.

What are other passions other than art? How have these passions contributed for you to become the artist you are today?

Music is my inspiration and my passion and It will always be so. It allows me to enter into my inner world and influences my feelings and thoughts. It is wonderful how music helps express ourselves.

Do you have a particular style? How did you become so passionate of this style?

My style overall is abstract. It's a mixture between realism and abstraction. At the Academy, I learnt classical art and it took me some time to move away from it and develop a different style. Over the years I've developed a silver and gold-foil technique that is exceptional in nature, which I'm very passionate about. Color also plays a big part in capturing emotions and expressing my inner voice.

Could you walk us through the process? Percentage wise, how much time do you spend preparing for the painting and how much time on the actual painting itself? Is preparation an important part of your process?

It can take me weeks or even months to form a vision before it becomes a painting. Once I envision something, I can be quite prolific. A lot of the work is done subconsciously. Once something from the subconscious becomes awareness, I'm urged to make it into art. Therefore, each painting has a story and I love the fact that I am able to create art in this manner. I don't take orders for paintings as I am not able to paint that way.

Are you engaged in new artistic adventures? How is artistic exploration important to you as an artist and to your process? How do you then decide what to incorporate into your style and what you leave as pure fun?

My process is an evolution and my artistic exploration lies in the unspoken. It is difficult for me to explain myself as it is a very personal experience. I observe and feel invisible vibrations, untouchable moments and subconscious experiences. This kind of introspection is something I've had to develop over the years and is the answer of my maturity as an artist and human being.

Was there a particular moment where you could tell that your skills had just crossed over into being an exceptionally good painter instead of a pretty good painter? What did you do make that leap?

For me, it has always been a journey. I don't think throughout the years that I have ever had a moment in which I realized a cross over as such. If I was to look at this in purely business terms, I would have never achieved this peace that I enjoy today. I create art for my pleasure and self-satisfaction and to see people enjoy it as much as me is very fulfilling. My mental and emotional growth has been as important as acquiring skills and developing myself and career.

How do you push yourself? Do you set goals for yourself? And if so, what are the goals? Do you think setting goals is important for an artist in his/her artistic journey? If so why?

Generally speaking, people should have goals. But I'm not the kind of artist that sets goals. The way I operate is much more organic and intuitive. As I mentioned before, my emotional stability is more important. The closest thing to a "goal" is the aim to bring my collectors joy and happiness with my art. I have people who become very emotional once they receive my paintings. That is what I look forward to at the end of the day, that people who purchase my paintings feel the same emotions I did when I started creating it. There is nothing is more gratifying that knowing my art inspires people.

How is your experience working with Aartzy? Do you think it is a useful platform for artists?

To be honest, the reason I decided to be a part of Aartzy is still a mystery. I believe Janaka had a way of getting through to me as I don't generally accept requests to be a part of online platforms. I have been a part of Aartzy for about 2 years now and I must say that their work is very professional. At this day and age where everything is digital, to be a part of such a great platform is wonderful. Also when Covid 19 has restricted us from visiting galleries and purchasing art, online sources like Aartzy help to take our work around the globe. I am excited to be a part of Aartzy.

All of Iren's work can be explored and purchased through

Manesha Peiris (2021)