Ina Prodanova was born in Rousse in Bulgaria in 1984. Having grown up next to the river Danube her love of the abstract art grew extensively. Throughout her life, Ina has always been fascinated by contrast of all kinds including color and human emotions. Naturally, she was drawn to the abstract, strongly influenced by Jackson Pollock, from an early age. This interest was refined during her teenage years and further developed when she opted to take her Bachelors’s Degree in Graphic Arts.
After completing her degree, Ina continued to explore and developed her own artistic style simplifying shapes and applying expressiveness in brush strokes. She believes that it’s all about expressing what is inside us and communicating those basic human emotions. ‘I have always been interested in feelings and how the world can be seen differently if we just change our perceptions and this will in turn have an impact on personality and how we feel about ourselves. Emotions tell us about the flavor of our lives and give us information about self and life. Then you paint. At the end, you look at the painting from a distance and you see your true self at that specific moment. The viewer will use their own experience to interpret the artwork.
Ina has also trained and worked as a graphic designer, specializing in commercial advertising for many years. She has a Master’s Degree in Graphic Design – Visual Communications from the New Bulgarian University. Her paintings have been exhibited at the Bulgarian Embassy in London in 2018, the Menier Gallery, and Lloyd’s Art Group in 2019. Now she lives and works in London.
Hi, Ina! Tell us a few words about yourself. When did you begin doing art and how did you get started? When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ina: I started drawing when I was three-four. It all started when my perpetually artistic self decided to draw the famous at that time character from The Adventures of Asterix comic. The similarity between the original and my drawing was incredible and noticing that I was actually in love with this activity made me feel confident. Everyone was impressed and my parents signed me up for art classes. A few years later, I signed up for more art classes, then art school in my home town. The feeling and the steps taken were so natural that I knew there was no way back. I already knew that I’ll be an artist.
Tell us about your artwork, medium, style, subject matter, etc. And what is the most challenging part about making art for you?
Ina: I feel uncomfortable when it comes to describing my work. The viewers should describe it. I can only tell you what my intension was, what I was drawn to choose that medium, or the artistic manner for instance. I am interested in abstract expressions where objectivity doesn’t exist and often find my style like a fluid. Sometimes I am more lyrical implementing fragments from nature and my next work could be constructive and linear. This often means that I do not want to begin work with a concept or with an idea but instead with emotion. I don’t want to put people into special situations, concepts, or make them think a certain way.
I believe every person has some creativity and talent in them it’s not uncommon. However, the determination to turn it into a long-term, serious art practice is what’s unusual and challenging.
What is a day of working like in your studio? Do you have any rituals that help you get motivated or in “the zone”?
Ina: My art studio is home-based but planning to move soon as I need a bigger space where I can focus exclusively on my work without distractions. Currently, I wake up at around 6.30-7.00 and have my dedicated hour for morning routines like coffee and meditation and at 8.30 I am ready to focus on my daily schedule which includes a lot of custom ink drawings I sell through multiple online platforms and I’m trying to finish at around 14.00 so I have enough time for painting. What gets me motivated..definitely soft jazz.
You say you’ve always been interested in feelings. What’s the most challenging part of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?
Ina: The most challenging part is when you suddenly feel stuck in the middle of your work process and you realize you are going through the different directions of what your initial intension was. I then stop and put it away from sight for a couple of days to “rest” before continuing to work on it.
It is a valuable quality to treat your art practice as a full-time job but at the same time, we always should know when to stop and take time to rethink and refill.
What is your most recent piece of art that you have enjoyed working on the most?
Ina: It is a commissioned piece for a young woman who actually wanted to make a present to her husband for their anniversary. I was asked if I can reproduce one of my already existing works using a cooler color palette and adding more symbolism to resonate better with the couple’s love story. I was excited about the result and she was over the moon!
You were born in Bulgaria but moved to London. How much of your art has changed since moving to UK? And does your background influence your life and work as an artist and if yes, how?
Ina: My art hasn’t changed drastically since I moved to London but most definitely my understanding of art has changed and the way I feel about it. Now I know art is a business and I need to treat it like one. This realization was painful but a turning point in my life. You need to go out there and expose your self as an artist, to market your work, to apply for different opportunities over and over again. At least, me being Bulgarian helped me as I have this I-won’t-let-rejection-to stop-me attitude.
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art? Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about (or canceled due to the Covid-19 situation)?
Ina: I would say going to art fairs and to be seen by potential buyers and galleries. To have a talk face to face and listen to them. I don’t have the flexibility required to be on the art fair but what I found that best work for me is to choose an online platform that I feel most attracted to. For me this is Pinterest, it works really well and gets many inquiries and orders throughout the years. Choose one or two and stick to it. Be persistent.
I was given second opportunity to be part of Lloyd’s Art Group this Autumn exhibition and one art show in Ruse Art Gallery in Bulgaria but sadly, they are postponed due to COVID.
Do you see your art as serving a purpose beyond art?
Ina: Just like language, art is a form of non-verbal expression of imagination. It’s a form of communication and having said that, we, the artists must stay responsible and be aware of what idea or message we want to implement. As long as I’m focused on what motivates me I’m grateful as I am serving my purpose through creating my art. Anything beyond that is Ego.
What advice would you give to upcoming artists, how to think out-of-the-box, and grow?
Ina: I would say to work on their mindset. Explore their limits, explore their style. Learn that artists should not do anything for free. And finally – to be persistent.
What’s next on the horizon for Ina?
Ina: First and foremost finding the best art studio close to my home.
To learn more about Ina and her art please visit: