Artist Interview with Mitko Karakolev
Gallery Lane Cove, July 20th, 2020
"Inspiration can strike when you least expect it."
London based multidisciplinary artist
Mitko Karakolev shares his insight into Art 'Online.'
Tell us about yourself and what you do.
My name is Mitko Karakolev and I am a London-based multidisciplinary artist. I grew up in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and studied Painting before moving to the UK to continue my studies. I received an MA in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art in 2017. My work often explores the subtleties of human relationships and aims to convey feelings of tenderness and intimacy. I am interested in the domestic space as a site of emotion and memory and have looked at how nostalgia and melancholy can influence the way people perceive and reflect on the past.
You graduated in 2017, were there any significant changes in your practice since?
My bachelor’s and master’s degrees both focused on illustration, film and animation. This was a conscious decision, as I wanted to expand my practice by learning new techniques and experimenting with a variety of mediums. I started painting again after a long hiatus and it has been interesting to discover how these different disciplines have shaped my approach over time.
Your artwork Another Day featured in Shelter Domestics is based on your flatmate.
Tell us a bit more about the story behind it.
I often sketch my flatmate performing everyday tasks such as working on his laptop or playing his guitar or video games. Another Day was based on one of my drawings of him relaxing on the couch after a long day working from home. I was captivated by the ambiguity of his body language, which seemed to express a broad range of emotions. I felt that it was a fitting representation of life during lockdown and the uncertain times in which we all find ourselves.
Alongside painting, you’re also magnificent at drawing. Do you have a preference for one or the other?
I have been drawing on paper for as long as I can remember, so in a way that was my first love. Drawing definitely informs all aspects of my art practice.
We saw on your website that you also do animation. Do you see yourself doing more of it in the future?
Animation and moving image practices offer me additional ways to explore narrative. I am drawn to artworks that tell a story, whether explicitly or implicitly. Creating immersive experiences using images, sound and space is certainly something I want to continue exploring.
Does social media affect how you create or share your art?
Social media has made me more conscious of how I present my work online. Although it is helpful to see how emerging and established artists that I admire curate their work online, it can also be a source of anxiety. There is a degree of freedom that comes with having a multidisciplinary practice; however, finding the best way to showcase the range of my work in a consistent manner is an ongoing challenge.
Are you planning to do any more virtual or online exhibitions?
I keep an eye out for open calls and art opportunities when I am not in ‘work mode’. I think digital exhibitions are here to stay and I am curious to see what effect they will have on people’s exposure to and interaction with art.
Do you have any advice for artists struggling to stay productive during isolation or other COVID hardships?
There are many things that are beyond our control right now, so try to focus on what is achievable and never forget that some of the greatest works of art were made during the most turbulent of times. Keep in touch with fellow creatives and see what they might be working on, stay curious and positive – inspiration can strike when you least expect it.
More about the artist