Tempe Artist Rossitza Todorova: 100 Creatives

Categories: 100 Creatives

Zoltan Janvary
Meet the artist.
Phoenix is brimming with creativity. And every other year, we put the spotlight on 100 of the city's creative forces. Leading up to the release of this year's Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome to the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today: 38. Rossitza Todorova.

For Rossitza Todorova, it's all about the journey.

The Tempe artist was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, raised in Reno, Nevada, and moved to Arizona to pursue her master's of fine arts in painting and drawing at ASU's Herberger Institute. Since graduating in 2013, Todorova, who turns 33 this month, has been stockpiling inspiration -- when she's not working at ASU Art Museum, teaching as an adjunct professor at ASU's School of Art, or creating new works.

See also: Phoenix Dancer Gavin Sisson: 100 Creatives

Courtesy of the artist
Todorova's Zipping Through LA (2012) combines lithography, gouache, graphite on paper.

The roads and infrastructure that lead the artist from one place to another are what inspire her sometimes three-dimensional works that look like linear abstractions of roller coasters or funhouse highways. In the past, she's created pieces like Zipping Through LA, pictured above, referencing experiences in specific cities through geometric mounds and swirling intersections.

And soon, Todorova will exhibit a new body of such work.

"I am working on a new series of drawings and artist books inspired by all of the places I have traveled over the last year," Todorova says. "I will have a solo exhibition of new work at the Eye Lounge Project Room, opening in February of 2015."

Mark your calendars -- and your maps.

I came to Phoenix with the desert dust in my wheels and postcard images of saguaros in my imagination. What I found instead is the beauty of endless highways and infinity flyovers crisscrossing the blazing blue sky.

I make art because it is what I love and what I do. I can't remember a time when I was not an artist. Each art piece is an experiment. I continually ask myself, "What if I try this?" Then I put pencil to paper and solve a problem working with color, composition and materials to create movement, tension and place.Making artwork is rewarding because it's never boring.

I'm most productive when I have a deadline. The pedal to the metal speed that comes at the end of a project makes me feel like a superhero that cansqueeze the utmost out of every minute and hour.

Courtesy of the artist
Todorova's Growing Structure Books installation at Harry Wood Gallery in 2013.
My inspiration wall is not a white vertical space where I pin things with thumbtacks. I have never really had this kind of wall. My inspiration comes from being in transit:
• commuting,
• driving,
• traveling,
• riding the light rail,
• sitting in the plane looking out the window at the unknown topography of the land,
• the dead time waiting for red to turn green,
• moments lost in daydreaming
• the time it takes for the bicycle brakes to stop me at the intersection,
• that confusion of place
• when I realize I have missed the exit,
• Shadow of the plane swallowing me in darkness from overhead,
• the pain of the last quarter mile of my evening run

My inspiration comes when I am in between thoughts, speeding between destinations, or driftingbetween dreams.

I've learned most from traveling outside of my comfort zone, with a skeleton plan of where to go, putting trust in a map and my feet.

Good work should always take you somewhere.After looking at art you should feel dizzy. As if you just stepped out of a portal that showed you theworld as you have never seen it before.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more affordable studio spaces for artists.

Location Info


Eye Lounge

419 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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