Kristian Chalakov is a Bulgarian artist, currently based in Germany.
"I've been doodling and playing with materials from a very young age and I am thankful that my parents never stopped me from exploring my creativity, even after a few destroyed walls and carpets! Art has always been a driving force in my life as through it I can express myself in the best possible way. I recently got inspired by queer culture and its misrepresentation and underrepresentation in our Bulgarian and Balkan culture.
My hometown (Plovdiv) is a great crossroad of cultures. Being the oldest city in Europe, it is a great playground to explore enduring traditions and new ideas. Yet sadly, it's still for the most part, closed minded when it comes to queer topics. Said topics of gender roles and sexual identity and how they fit in the 'norm' are still, to this day, receiving negative reactions from the general public.
With my illustrations I want to explore these topics and to mix them with the Bulgarian folklore elements and to illustrate them with the traditional technique of hand drawing with ink. I strongly believe in Nina Simone's words; An artist's duty is to reflect the times!, and that's why i want to create something that is meaningful that also stays authentic to me.
Bulgarian people are very warm and passionate but history and various regimes have sadly made them more conservative, which is why we don't have enough information about queer people in our history. That is exactly what i am striving to present through my art."