Artist Focus 107 – Preslav Kostov

Welcome back! Thank you again for joining us on yet another search for an interesting and unique artist. This week we have the youngest artist I am yet to interview yet, however just as much to offer us never mid the age. Preslov Kostov is a painter and illustrator based in London, England, born in 1998. His work has a relaxing feel to it, I find a lot of emotion when studying his work. This could be down to the organic and natural essence of the figure and the colour palette. It isn’t flawless by any means, however it is accurate to the moment. In his work Kostov captures the genuine and authentic emotions of what surrounds us on a daily basis, I personally find it fascinating. His discipline is consistent and his choice of subjects reflects his taste whilst whispering an engaging point of view. The work centres around an autobiographical narrative and that is why I believe it to be so fluid and consistent. I always enjoy seeing what he brings to the table. Keep one eye fixed and focused on Kostov; I see even more great things coming from this young gun.



Kostov Self Portrait



Kostov – Sketchbook series

Who are your favourite artists? What makes them stand out to you? 

This is a tough question to answer since my favourites will consistently switch out as I develop and discover new painters and artists. Some remain a constant reference and inspiration, the names that are sitting at the top of my head are artists like Euan Uglow and Nicolas Uribe. I have always been a keen draftsman and I suppose those two exemplify my intentions and sensibilities when it comes to good drawing; not chasing a photo-like image but rather simplifying and exploring the shapes and abstraction behind figurative realism. However as I mentioned I consistently keep an eye out! A painter called Robert Fawcett was my personal tutor a few years ago and he got me to keep a logbook style file with artists’ names and a couple of their most impactful works from them. This is quite useful not only as a way to track how my taste changes but also as a way to re-centre my course when I go down a rabbit hole and allow myself to be influenced too much by a single person.

Drawing Kostov


What is the process for your paintings? 

My paintings vary in process. Not in terms of execution but rather in how complicated and how many steps of a process are required to reach a point where I am satisfied. As a largely autobiographical painter of the everyday, I paint a lot of what I see around me. I believe some artists make a record of their time and their experiences whilst on earth. I know some people in the art world scoff at such methods of working but I am at peace with tackling that subject matter. I always seek out to really look at things. Even the simplest of objects and forms and consider their role and significance. When I was taught how to draw, I was told to break everything down into shapes and hence that made me think about the quiet, overshadowed moments that we dismiss in the rush of our modern lives. I find a lot of beauty in them and record them. In a way I can relate to them. There is a lot of narrative behind the simplest of things and I resonate with that personally hence why I prefer to listen to the stories and assumptions people weave when looking at the work rather than directing their response through explanations myself. Sometimes I don’t know why I am initially drawn to paint something. I suppose with the craze of PC culture and how politically charged everyone is about absolutely everything, the lack of grey area, the permanence of every thought we mutter, I feel I can speak more freely through painting.
To summarise, I am quite impulsive in my creation and paint or draw directly with only as much planning as is absolutely necessary.

Kostov Pencil Drawing

What is your preferred medium you use? 

Oils have held my heart for a while. There is so much you can do with them and seemingly never feel exhausted. Although juggling drawing, colour and tone all at once whilst painting, I enjoy the challenge and it keeps it interesting for me.
When I am not painting I usually draw. Drawing used to be the core of my practice and was absolutely essential before painting took over. Originally I was exclusively employing charcoal and chalk but recently ditched the mess and rediscovered graphite. I use it to relax now, as I don’t have the pressure of finishing a passage, I can start and stop as I please.
I want to go back to doing some mono printing and aquatint soon in an attempt to bring some of the drawing and painting sensibilities under one roof when i am not at my easel.

What is your opinion on the art market at the moment? Likes or Dislikes about it? 

Thats a beast that I am still slowly figuring out. The good is that the internet has allowed me to not be at the mercy of a gallery curator and I often make direct sales to collectors. On the other hand I have also enjoyed building relationships with gallery managers as they take a lot of the marketing load and have more authority on controlling your prices. I suppose the challenge of maintaining integrity and fairness with collectors whilst also making a somewhat consistent income and selling paintings is a juggle and a half. You don’t want to treat your art like a wholesale commodity but sometimes its so challenging to be firm when you are on your last £40 for the month. Ultimately I enjoy the accessibility to artists to sell art and for people to discover it. I don’t like the ambiguity of all the rules and reasons around it.

Commission piece by Preslov Kostov



Do you have any advice for artists wanting to be represented by galleries or any advice for any one beginning their art career? 

I guess just don’t try to imitate others, everyone takes a different path and any dishonesty will become very apparent and even potentially frowned upon as you build traction on the internet and with collectors. Remember a gallery signs you for your current work and will encourage a similar direction for your future pieces if you sell well with them. Don’t paint yourself into a corner! Similarly please don’t undersell your art as it undermines the entire community. A lot of artists will offer help on pricing your work if you are unsure how to approach it.

Did you study at art school? If not, where did you study and what? 

I have been to a range of schools for different purposes but here is the run so far:
Lavender Hill Atelier (now London Fine Arts)
Royal Drawing School
Leeds College of Art (illustration)
An incoming Masters in Painting