Ars longa, vita brevis

If somebody tries to convince you they know how the creative process starts, I suggest you don’t fall for it, nobody knows.

For the Russian writer Bounin, for instance, it all began when he was five. As he was paging through a medical book, he saw the profile of a man against a hilltop and the words: “A cretin in the mountains.”

A colleague of mine grabbed a brush because he spent his childhood slaving away at a big black piano and wanted to taste the freedom the colorful paint-box promised.

Dante wrote when he was in love, Pushkin – quite the opposite: “Love passed, a Muse came…”

And what can be derived from all this? ! The rapture of creation?

In reality, I am mostly embittered by disappointment.

Every creation comes from nothing. A new idea is born, at first it seems brilliant, then it must be justified or rejected, it must overcome the resistance of matter. Creativity is a constant movement from one failure to another, sometimes warmed by rare victories of achievement. The trophies won from constant battles with oneself taste delicious. But the more I master the modes of expression, the more I begin to dread the “beginning of the end,” the dangerous time when I will no longer be an artist, because I will have started repeating…myself. Perhaps that’s why those who manage to hold on to the state of creativity are few. Without having the faintest clue what anguish and delight lie ahead of me, at the tender age of four, after having my tonsils taken out, I asked for a piece of paper and made my first attempt to express torment. An attempt to submerge into the secret. The secret of freedom, of nourishing the spirit of others. Fourty-four years later, I am still asking for paper, paints, canvasses, and every means of expression they can offer, I still stand petrified and elated before the white space, awake and asleep; I plunge into isolation and ambition, lovelessness and love, those beautiful moments, when the Muse rests her head on my shoulder and time tiptoes away…

All I’ve ever done has been stretched between limits of the moment and eternity, of the expressible and the indescribable, of fiction and reality.


Angela Minkova