Art residencies - Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso
All images are courtesy of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso

Learn about how participating in an art residency can bring inspiration and lifelong memories. Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso explains more…


It is June and I am sitting in a moving car. I peer out the window and see a beautiful, red poppy flower-lined road that leads to the small Bulgarian village of Tsarimir, the destination of my artistic residency adventure in Europe. I have never done an art residency before, so this is an all-new experience. The residency is called Imago International Artist Residency.

The description of the residency states “imago” means “image” in Latin, but it is also a biological term that describes the last stage an insect attains during its metamorphosis. I am feeling like a caterpillar ready to create its artistic wings in Imago. There is an air of excitement to create and share my art with a world I am not familiar with.

Imago Art residency in Bulgaria

The residency is run by Radoslav Mehandzhiyski and Teodora Konstantinova – art historians and curators. I have arrived and am here with two other residents of completely different artistic disciplines, Ties Ten Bosch and VerDarLuz. Ties is a Dutch concept-based artist who works with sculptures and installation. He already has two pieces up on the wall (he arrived a couple days before me), where he has altered and transformed Bulgarian posters with paint and other techniques. Verdarluz is from the USA, and works in many different disciplines. He is a composer, poet, and visual artist, whose themes revolve around spiritual subjects. His meditative melodies fill the air here and encourage contemplation.

For me, this is a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas about art and how differently each of us interpret the world. The village I am staying in is very small; the name is Tsarimir, which means “Village of Peace.” It was established during the Ottoman empire. I feel the ancient age of this village, full of traditions and authentic Bulgarian customs. I am a city girl, so for me this experience is enriching. It definitely makes me think about different cultures and perspectives on life.

Imago Art residency in Bulgaria

Imago Art residency in Bulgaria

Imago Art residency in Bulgaria

I am fascinated with the roosters crowing in the morning and the sheep herds grazing in the field down the road. The residency home is a down-to-earth typical Bulgarian village house. It has a lovely grape vineyard and flower garden that belong to Rado’s wonderful parents, who are always here and warmly host the residents. Rado’s mother, Yonka, made us a delicious Bulgarian welcome dinner. Rado and Teddy are warm, informative hosts, who have shown us the art scene in the city of Plovdiv, which is 30 minutes by car from the village.

During this residency, I am working on my “Homage Ode Project,” which is dedicated to historical women artists. The project is created in an illuminated manuscript type style. Each work is painted on Arches archival oil painting paper in different media. The works are composed and inspired by the life and art of different women artists throughout history. I create an original design and poetic ode based on these women. One of the Homage Odes is dedicated to the Bulgarian artist Elena Karamihailova (1875-1961). I am very excited to see her paintings, which hang in the National Gallery in Sofia.

Each of the residents is granted an artist’s studio to create work that will be exhibited in a one-day pop-up exhibition. Our exhibition is on June 26, 2021 in the city of Sofia in a gallery space entitled “See Me On 29.”

Art residencies - Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso

Art residencies - Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso Art residencies - Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso Art residencies - Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso

When asked about the mission of Imago and how artists can apply, Rado and Teddy state that:

“One of the missions of IMAGO Int. Artist Residency is to create adequate space and time opportunities for artistic exchange. This exchange is quite diverse, it works on different levels. Of course, it relates to the communication of thoughts, ideas, and perspectives between the participating artists, but it also relates to the exploration of the local artistic life – which is actually a mutual process.

“The artists are encouraged to experience the local scene, and at the end of their stay we organize a pop-up exhibition through which the local scene is introduced with everybody’s work. Through this residency model we believe we contribute to enriching both the local art scene and the practices of the participating artists who are coming from all over the world.

“The application process is made easy and simple; it includes an application form, which is downloaded from our website, a CV or a brief artistic biography is required as well. We do understand that this experience is an adventure for many of the selected artists, so we do our best to communicate and facilitate all their needs before and during the residency program. We are greatly excited for this month’s pop-up exhibition and we’re more than curious to see Gabriela’s work in an exhibition setting, surrounded by local art lovers.”

I am grateful for this life enriching experience. I have learned a lot and I feel as though I have made some lifelong friends here. Thank you, Rado and Teddy. ~GGD

Art on display at a gallery
The works created during the residency also took place during a pop-up exhibit at See Me Gallery.

Art on display at a gallery Art on display at a gallery Art on display at a gallery

Artists at gallery
A group photo left to right: Rado’s Brother, Stanimir Mehandzhiyski, and Rado’s parents Yonka and Ilias Mehandzhiyski, Rado’s niece, Joana Mehandzhiyski, Gabriela, her mother, Alexandra Jaili, Imago Artist in residence Ties ten Bosch, Imago Founders: Radoslav Mehandzhiyski and Teodora Konstantinova and Imago residency artist VerDarLuz

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