Michael Stoyanov was born in 1949 in the countryside of Bulgaria’s medieval capital—Veliko Tarnovo. In 1972 Stoyanov earned his BFA degree from the University of Veliko Tarnovo, where he was a student of the eminent Bulgarian artist, professor Vasil Stoilov. Michael also cherished the mentorship of Dimitar Kazakov who was one of Bulgaria’s most renowned artists. The young artist developed a photorealist technique to depict the daily life of people from his countryside. The titles of his paintings from that period speak for themselves: “On the field”, “Idyll”, “Distance”, “My father grew pensive”, “Our past”. His work quickly gathered critical acclaim and many of his paintings have been published in art magazines and purchased for the permanent collections of art museums in Bulgaria. During the 1970s and 1980s the artist worked as director of the city art gallery of Strazhitsa, where together with his wife and fellow artist, Ekaterina, he hosted annual international painting symposia. In 1983 Stoyanov held his first solo exhibit in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, which was followed by dozens of solo and group exhibitions during the 1980s. Stoyanov was among the first artists in Bulgaria who endeavored to create a market economy for his art, to establish direct connection with the public, and to gain international exposure.
Since 1992 Michael Stoyanov and his family have been residing in the United States, where they were granted citizenship on the basis of their professional accomplishments. After spending several years in Minneapolis, Michael and Ekaterina made Arizona their home and have been painting and exhibiting at their gallery in Carefree, AZ since 1999. The two artists have participated in numerous art events in the Midwest and the Southwest, winning best of show awards, and their paintings have been published by Manhattan Arts International, Arizona Images, Whelan Gallery, Alain Briot, Fusion Art, and local Arizona periodicals and guides. Michael and Ekaterina have painted icons and frescoes in the Byzantine style for the Serbian Cultural Center in South St. Paul, MN, St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud, MN, St. Sophia Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ, as well as for many private collectors, including Michael Bird from Minneapolis, MN, Father Joseph Kelchak from Indiana, and Bishop Kinney from St. Cloud, MN. Their artworks are enjoyed by collectors internationally.
Artist Statement. Conceptually and stylistically, my artistic evolution has undergone several stages: from the minimalist color scheme and social commentary of the photorealist style I practiced in the 1970s and early 1980s in my native Bulgaria to the rich expressionist palette which I adopted in the late 1980s, and especially after moving to the United States in the 1990s. However, regardless of my working environment, my aesthetic attention is always captured by the graceful harmony in the lifestyle of rural cultures and by the simple beauty of the natural world, both of which I have rediscovered in the American Southwest.
When I am painting, I enjoy discovering the significance of every shape and tone I create. As I begin work, I set out with the intention to study the relations between the forms and the colors of my subject, and even if I end up painting just a few brushstrokes the whole day, I am happy that I have found their harmony. The blend of techniques that I integrate in my work, my desire to recreate the multi-layered plasticity of the object I have chosen to paint and to discover and communicate its distinctive presence, have allowed me to create pieces that speak to everyone: fragments of ancient pottery, an interior scene by a window entitled “beautiful day”, the impressionistic amphitheater setting of Bulgaria’s medieval capital, the lively energy of cowboys crossing a river on horseback, the dramatic hues of the Grand Canyon ravines.
Mastering the interplay of light and shade, which matures anew in each piece, is the foundation that allows me to explore several variations on a theme, as well as a diversity of subjects. One of my favorite objects to paint is pieces of colorful Native American pottery. I enjoy building their texture and at the same time I perceive them as the elements of an abstract painting. After painting the cracks on the pottery on canvas a number of times, I also started painting them on cracked wood panels from cypress tree, incorporating the painting surface in my representation. By adding this extra material dimension to the cracked pots that have survived the passing of centuries, I wish to communicate my experience of them as an anchorage for reflection in our hurried modern lifestyle.
Many of my paintings have undergone several transformations that were often suggested by my customers. I believe that the successful communication of my artistic vision is fundamental to the process of creation and my interaction with the visitors of my gallery is a vital part of my inspiration to paint and to keep exploring new subjects and techniques.
|1999―present||Permanent exhibit, M & E Stoyanov Fine Art Gallery, Carefree, AZ|
|2022||The Healing Power of Art: Resilience, Manhattan Arts International (online)
Special recognition award
|2021||Fusion Art 6th Annual Landscapes Art Exhibition (online) (award winner)|
|2020||“Magic Hour Fall Show”, Dutch Art Gallery, Dallas, TX|
|2011||“Night of a Hundred Angels”, Whelan Gallery, South Laguna Beach, CA|
|1996―1998||Adelante Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ|
|1992―1995||group exhibits at Saint Anthony on the Main Art Gallery, Minneapolis, MN|
|1992―1995||group exhibits at Jack Wolf Fine Art Gallery, Minneapolis, MN|
|1992||solo exhibition at Jack Wolf Fine Art Gallery, Minneapolis, MN|
|1992||solo exhibition at “Samovodska Charshia”, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria|
|1986||solo exhibition at “Rafael Mihailov” art exhibition halls, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria|
|1982||solo exhibition at the National Palace of Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria|
|1973―1991||annual group exhibits at art museum and gallery venues in Bulgaria|
Thunderbird Artists Fine Art & Wine Festival, Carefree, AZ
Scottsdale Civic Center Arts Festival, Scottsdale, AZ
Thunderbird Artists Scottsdale Fine Art Festival, Scottsdale, AZ
Dixie Green Fine Art Show, Scottsdale, AZ
Fountain Hills Fine Art Affaire, AZ
Scottsdale Celebration of Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ
Beverly Hills Art Festival in the Park, Beverly Hills, CA
Indian Wells Art Festival, Indian Wells, CA
Southwest Arts Festival, Indio, CA
San Francisco Celebration of Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
Aspen Fine Art Festival, Aspen, CO
Edwards Fine Art & Sculpture, Edwards, CO
Telluride Fine Art Festival, Telluride, CO
Thunderbird Artists Fine Art Festival, Vail, CO
Duluth Art Festival, Duluth, MN
Excelsior Art Festival, Excelsior, MN
Aquatennial Art Festival, Minneapolis, MN
Uptown Art Fair, Minneapolis, MN
Owatonna Art Festival, Owatonna, MN
Rochester Art Festival, Rochester, MN