An Interview by Julieta Kaludova with artist Ellie Arsova

Falchion Publications is thrilled to feature Ellie Arsova in this month’s edition of Guest at the Pub, an ongoing series highlighting creators in a variety of artistic disciplines.

Ellie is a painter living and working in Dallas, TX. Her art has recently been featured in exhibitions in art galleries throughout the metroplex, and she is quickly becoming known as an artist to watch for. In her work she often gravitates toward exotic themes and locales, using broad and bold strokes for emphasis. Ellie’s desire is to capture those ever-fleeting moments in time that have the power to transform, to instruct, and to ultimately change our inner selves.

Artist by night, medical specialist by day, avid traveler throughout the year, passionate samba dancer, sports-o-haulic, and a loving wife and mother, Ellie does it all. Her paintings – vivid and colorful like the personality of their creator. After meeting with our guest and learning more about her life and process, I couldn’t help but think of something written by Goethe, which seemed to sum her up as an artist, and as a human being:

Rest not! Life is sweeping by;
 go dare before you die.
 Something mighty and sublime,
 leave behind to conquer time!

If you have to describe yourself in three words what would they be?
Curious, adventure lover, spontaneous, restless (most of the time in a good way!). I like to think of myself as – and I am really trying to be – a good mother, interesting and supporting wife, and a true friend to a small circle of people.

When did you discover your passion for painting?
For as long as I can remember, I have loved using my hands to create things. Whether working with clay back in school, which was probably when my first intentional art making started, wood carving, drawing, painting…. I loved every minute of it, and I have yet to decide and discover where my strength is in using different materials and styles.

What is art for you?
Escape and travel! I love my life, don’t get me wrong. But when painting, I escape from reality, from the place I currently am at the moment, and travel back in time to different dwellings where I have already been. I usually paint people and places that I have seen and found intriguing for some reason. Through my art I always try to tell a story, the way I see it.

Two impressions of the drowned church of Bulgarian Saint Ivan Rilski, located in the Zhrebchovo village of Bulgaria. In 1965 the Communist Party ordered the construction of an artificial lake, submerging the entire village along with the church.

 

Painting of Dancers
An observation of luau, the traditional Polynesian fire dance in which the dancers recreate a story through the motion of their bodies.

In your opinion, what are the miracles that happen through art?
As I previously said, when I paint I travel back in time. It helps me to revisit favorite places, and see interesting people that I have captured in a photograph. I think we all see the world differently, so this is my way to depict what I saw at a specific time and place. I think there is magic in every moment of life and art is the best way to encapsulate it. We are just so busy with our everyday routines that we rarely stop and enjoy the moment.

My paintings are frozen moments of the magic that I have been fortunate enough to experience in my life and my travels. Trying to recreate that moment is when the magic happens to me.

With friends at an art exhibition featuring several of her paintings. “This one takes place in Maui at dusk, where turtles get out of the water to spend the night in safety, away from sharks. They have been doing this for thousands of years.”


Do you have any favorite painters?
There is so much good art out there, and so many talented art creators. I have had favorites at different times of my life. Thinking about this question now, I’ve always really enjoyed looking at the art of Vladimir Dimitrov – the Master. I like the vivid colors he used in his paintings. Also, his portrayals of women are very inspiring to me for I too like to paint women.

I can’t help but acknowledge some of the frames of your paintings. Where do you have your frames done?
Thanks for noticing! My husband (Krum Arsov) actually does them all for me. I wouldn’t entrust something as important as a frame to anyone else, because the frame, while it seems simple, can actually make or break a painting, as far as I am concerned. He is a carpenter and wood-craftsmen, and he understands my art without me having to explain much. It works perfectly!

Woman with a lama in Cusco, Peru. “Ever since I saw her that day, I have been wondering what she was thinking about, staring like that into the distance.”

How does one day in the life of Ellie Arsova begin?
I like to start my day early to do my daily workout. That gives me the energy for the day. Work follows, and after that is family time, samba class, some time for Spanish class. If I am lucky, I might find time to paint during the week, but luck like that doesn’t come often; 24 hours is such a short period of time. I wish sometimes to be able to not have the need to sleep, there is so much I would like to do instead….

What helps you get out of a funk or recover from a crisis?
I know that in life everything has to be in balance. When in crisis, I like to think that this shall pass and better times will follow, just like the tides of the ocean – the low tide follows the high tide and vice versa. We people think that when we are in crisis life is finished for us, but just as both high and low tides bring or leave something on the shore, both good and difficult times are beneficial for us. It is our decision to recognize and seize the lesson or to wane and drain in self-pity.


What recharges your batteries?

Being outside recharges my batteries every time. Whether hiking in the mountains, breathing the crisp air among majestic trees, paddling down a meandering river trying to catch an easy rapid, or staying at the shore and listening to the unceasing, rhythmic sound of the waves… just being a part of the unstoppable power that nature is! I guess I like the feeling of being high on endorphins! [bursts into laughter].

I like to see myself as this tiny particle of dust that I am, that has been allowed to be here in this moment….the very thought of it just never fails to recharge me.


A small bird whispered to me that besides being a painter you’re also a cake master…
I mentioned previously that I like to use my hands to create things. Making a cake is a type of art, especially the decoration. I know it might sound pretentious, and I really don’t mean it in that way, but I was very flattered when one of my friends told me she shared pictures of the cakes I made with her coworkers and they said they are true pieces of art. I make miniature sculptures using gum paste or pipe different patterns, depending on the occasion.

Do you have any other hobbies?
I would like to try many different things, unfortunately time is precious and limited for all of us. I’ve had different hobbies at different times, but dancing has always been one thing I can lose myself in. I grew up dancing Bulgarian folk dances, as a teenager I tried jazz dance for several years, and currently I am learning how to dance Brazilian samba. This proved to be yet another fuel to my fire—the music, the rhythm, the movement of the body… Dancers are powerful storytellers as well!

A member of the United Dance Academy in Dallas, Ellie (in black) often performs Brazilian samba at events.

You have been in the medical field for over twenty years. Do you find art in your work?
Let me state right away that I absolutely love my job! Being in the medical field for so long showed me that there is magic and art in the hospital as well. Working with expecting parents every day, I’ve had the privilege to witness the beginning of life.

There are different types of art out there – like when a tiny little part of a cluster of cells suddenly starts to flicker on the monitor, and you realize that you have just witnessed the heart of what we call an embryo beating for the first time! It is this precise moment that will stay with you and give you goosebumps every time you think of the magic that is the Art of Life.

Tell me about Ellie Arsova at home. Is she an artist, a scientist, or something in between?
Ellie Arsova at home is always in motion. There is so much to be done! We are homeschooling our youngest daughter, so I have to be a scientist when explaining something to her. When I cook, I like to improvise, to experiment with new recipes – call it science, call it art, I think of it as a little of both, and then something more…

The most meaningful time is family time: with husband Krum and daughters Miki (23) and Viki (13).

The last peak you have conquered?
Kilimanjaro just a few weeks ago!!!!

Impressive! What was Africa like?
Africa is no joke! [laughs]. Climbing Kilimanjaro was both mentally and physically challenging, altitude sickness is a real problem there. Then we reached the summit after six hours of straight climbing, just as the sun was rising above the black clouds, spreading around light and color. There was the glacier on the right, the crater of the volcano on the left. Just staying there and witnessing the beginning of a new day at the widest point on earth was… mesmerizing. Surreal and simply beautiful. 

With husband Krum on the summit of Kilimanjaro, proudly holding the Bulgarian tricolor. “I am so blessed to have a husband who supports me in all of my pursuits no matter what; who will follow me to the end of the world, regardless if he likes it or no.”
“Tired and exhausted?!? Nah, just the opposite — I’m jumping with joy, overwhelmed with the feeling of this personal achievement!”

I so look forward to you transmitting these experiences on the canvas! To any young and aspiring painter, what advice or tips might you give them?
Oh, I think I am in no place to give advice to new painters. I wish I knew more about art than I currently do; sometimes I like to achieve a certain effect, but I don’t know how, so I am constantly learning. The one piece of advice I can give someone is – never get too comfortable with your art, never stop improving, learning, challenging yourself, and, of course, trying to be the best version of yourself at any given moment.

Lastly, and we ask this to every guest at the pub: what is your drink of choice?
In terms of a nonalcoholic beverage – there is nothing better than a nice cup of green tea! When I drink alcohol, it’s either wine or vodka-soda.

To view or purchase any of Ellie’s paintings, go here. Each canvas tells a beautiful tale, heartfelt and memorable, and will make the perfect gift this Christmas and Holiday Season! 

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Julieta Kaludova
Julieta Kaludova is the Creative Director and a contributing author at Falchion Publications, an award-winning essayist, a gatherer of uniqueness, and a collector of the exotic. In her writing Julieta often draws from the exciting experiences she has had over the years, including being a radio journalist, media and PR liaison, university instructor, translator, director of a political press centre, and stage performer. Her greatest source of inspiration, however, remains her curious little daughter.

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