Michael Stoyanov was born on November 21, 1949 in the hill village Balkantzi, located in the vicinity of Bulgaria’s medieval capital – Veliko Tarnovo. As a child, growing up in the family of hard-working peasants – his father was a barrel craftsman and his mother worked in the fields, Michael’s imagination was deeply impressed by the humble beauty of people in their daily communion with nature. This early formation would reemerge in his second home in the American Southwest, where Stoyanov finds inspiration in the desert landscape and the customs of its ethnic populations.
In 1972 Stoyanov earned his BA degree from the University of Veliko Tarnovo, where he was a student of the eminent Bulgarian artist Professor Vasil Stoilov. The young artist was intrigued by the expressive means of photorealism and focused on compositions and portraits. “I drew thematic sources for my painting from the village workers, the unheard of, the unseen, the suffering, the lonely…” The titles of his paintings from that period speak for themselves – “On the field”, “Idyll”, “Distance”, “My father became pensive”, “Our past”, “, “Loneliness”, etc. His sharp technique and compassionate perspective quickly caught the attention of the critics, followed by magazine publications and museum acquisitions of his artworks. In 1983 Stoyanov held his first solo exhibit in the most prestigious art venue in Bulgaria, the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, followed by 16 more solo exhibits in various Bulgarian towns. Since his early days as an artist, Michael cherished the friendship of his mentor, the late Dimitar Kazakov, who remains one of Bulgaria’s most renowned artists. In the mid-1980s Stoyanov’s preferred artistic form became the landscape, crafted with palette knife and oils; his thematic inspiration was Veliko Tarnovo and its surrounding picturesque villages. While he was successful with the juried state exhibitions, which were the primary source of livelihood for artists under the socialist regime, Stoyanov was also among the first artists in Bulgaria who strove to create a market economy for their art, to establish a direct connection with the public and gain foreign exposure. “I feel great pleasure when I am in contact with my customers, in seeing people’s enthusiasm about my art”, says the artist. “I still remember when a team of reporters from the Japanese national TV purchased 17 of my paintings during their 3-day stay in the historic Bulgarian village Arbanassi, where I used to paint and exhibit my artwork. They were gathered around me, as I was painting from nature, and were waiting to buy the painting as soon as I finished it.”
In 1992 Stoyanov and his family took advantage of the Fall of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe and immigrated to the United States. In 1995 the family was granted U.S. citizenship on the basis of Michael’s professional excellence. In the United States, Stoyanov has skillfully translated his artistic vision to communicate with his new audience. In the past twenty years, the artist has participated in numerous art events, organizing solo exhibits and winning best of show, ribbon, and magazine publication awards. In 1999 Michael and his wife Ekaterina – also an artist, opened their own gallery and studio in Carefree, Arizona.
Fine Art & Wine Festival, Carefree, AZ
Fountain Hills Fine Art Affaire, AZ
Scottsdale Fine Art & Chocolate Festival, AZ
Scottsdale Celebration of Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ
Beverly Hills Art Festival in the Park, Beverly Hills, CA
San Francisco Celebration of Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
The Southwest Arts Festival, Indio, CA
Aspen Fine Art Festival, Aspen, CO
Avon Festival of Fine Arts, Avon, CO
Edwards Fine Art & Sculpture, Edwards, CO
Aquatennial Art Festival, Minneapolis, MN
Excelsior Art Festival, Excelsior, MN
Uptown Art Fair, Minneapolis, MN
30+ juried gallery and museum exhibitions in Bulgaria and other European countries.