I was born on July 8, 1975 in the small Bulgarian village of Dragichevo, where
I grew up as a twin child in a family of three sisters. I was a very happy child, playing neighborhood games and running through the woods and fields full of livestock, enchanted by their ringing bells. I would watch the nature around me; the beauty of all of the field flowers and their incredible aroma along with the stream near my house delighted me. Listening to the gurgle of the stream's water and the view of the mountains filled me with happiness. I remember how all those small villages with their peaceful and quiet streets in the morning seemed eager for my afternoon adventures. All of those things, which I miss so much and still carry with me in my heart and soul, have inspired my artwork today.
In 1994 I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Vela Blagoeva in our capital, Sofia. The same year, I got married and had my daughter, Katya. I felt that my real life had begun then; I was no longer that child. I was a mother, and
I had many responsibilities.
In 2001 I moved to the USA. I had to survive somehow without money and with no knowledge of the English language. I sent my daughter back to Bulgaria, and I started working various jobs while I studied English. It was very hard for me to live in a place where I couldn't understand what people were saying. Listening to music helped me to understand English, and it also guided my artwork. Many of my favorite songs have inspired some of my greatest paintings: "The Story of my Life"; "Tell the World I'm Coming Home"; "I Will Never Change"; "We Can Learn to Love Again"; "You and I"; "Am I Wrong"; "Must Be Something in the Water"; "Desert Rose"; "If I Don't Have You"; "I Hate You Then I love You More" and "Because You Loved Me" . I felt that I was ready for a new beginning, so I settled in Illinois and brought my daughter home. In 2007, I gave birth to my son, Troy, and I started painting soon after. Through painting I have found the way to express my thoughts and feelings. I let my heart and soul guide my hand. My paintings are my voice -- to those who can understand and appreciate them, I would say, "Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks differently to all."
There were times when I felt like giving up, but after all I had been through, I managed to turn things around by perfecting my artistic talents. If it had not been for my weaknesses, I would never have found my strengths. I would be lost.
I believe that everyone has a purpose in life, and I have found mine as an artist. I believe that someday my work will be appreciated by many people. I consider myself as a story teller, and I can’t wait to share all my stories with you.
ZHIVKA V. NAYDENOVA