Rossitza Todorova on Re-Reading Game of Thrones and the Importance of Metal Rulers

What happens in the studio shouldn’t always stay in the studio. Studio Visit Q+A is a weekly series that profiles artists in their studios. We ask them questions, they provide answers, and then we have a nice discussion about their work. This week: Tempe artist Rossitza Todorova.

Rossitza Todorova recently moved her studio into a temporary space in Tempe. In a way, it’s like a little artist residency. Todorova has dealt with moving her workspace before, so she knows how to get back in the saddle and return to making. In between working for the ASU Art Museum and taking care of stray cats in the neighborhood, Todorova is preparing for a whole slew of upcoming exhibitions.

Todorova is in the process of continuing a couple of bodies of work that she presented earlier this year in exhibitions at Eye Lounge and Halt Gallery’s shipping container. “Fold and Cut,” Todorova’s installation in Eye Lounge’s project room this past February paired sculptural book forms with celestial projections of diamonds. The intricate design of the book forms visualize the idea of a diamond while the geometry of the real diamond becomes organic.

These sculptural light works will be a part of an exhibition titled “Geometry in the Expanded Field” at a new space called Fine Arts Complex 1101 in Tempe during the month of October. Todorova just got a new slide projector and is collaging fragments of found slide photographs of diamonds from a former Tempe store. This experimental work references time, space, and movement in the same way Todorova’s two-dimensional work does.

Todorova is also working on the body of work that she presented in “Collected Echoes,” a two-person exhibition with Patricia Sannit at Halt Gallery earlier this year. These works on paper begin with a print base and Todorova completes them with both wet and dry media. The colors are earthy and muted and the forms are simultaneously rigid and organic. It’s as if these works are about the Earth and the artist’s diamond work is about the rest of the universe.

The way that Todorova makes these print-based works embraces the unintentional. These pronto plate prints are mixture of lithography and monoprint. Todorova chooses marks, arranges the composition, and inks the plate, but the result is ultimately decided by the print press itself. “I didn’t make that mark. I chose that mark and the press made that mark and I have to respond to it,” Todorova says. From here, Todorova responds to the work by either adding to it or leaving it be.

For Todorova, a lot of the artmaking exists in the journey of process. She thinks of it as a puzzle or problem that she has to solve. “There’s a lot of things that I controlled in these pieces, and other things that I didn’t control,” says Todorova. “I think that’s always really important in art...that I never feel like I have control over everything.” 

Tell us about your work in haiku format.
The path is ahead
The journey is what matters
Enjoy the in-between

What artist(s) are you really into right now?
Nicola Lopez is an artist that I look up to. She is a Brooklyn-based installation artist and printmaker that has influenced my work over the years. I have had the pleasure of working with her at Anderson Ranch and in New York. She taught me a lot about taking chances and using new materials.

What are you reading?
I’m re-reading the Game of Thrones books. After the end of HBO’s season four I wanted to revisit the beginning of the stories and experience the travel and adventure again. They are even richer the second time around.

What's the last TV show, film, or video you watched?
I just watched the last episode of Halt & Catch Fire, season two. The female characters are very well written. Their struggles and conversation is so true to life. It is nice to see two capable leading women on TV.

If you could collaborate with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Judy Pfaff. Her use of line, layering and space is a big inspiration. I would love to work with her on a project, any project.

What was the last exhibition you saw and what did you think of it?
The last exhibition I saw was "Force of Nature" at the Shemer Art Center. I found myself lingering and looking at work by local artists that I have not seen shown together before. It’s always great to see local artists making good work.

Jeff Koons or Marina Abramovic? and why?
Marina Abramovic. I respect that she made the clarification “I’m not a feminist…I am just an artist.” It is how I want people to see me.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
“Ship it!” get it out the door. Meet the deadline no matter what it takes and get the work out there.

What are you currently working on?
I am framing work for an exhibition at Offroad Productions in Santa Fe curated by John Reyes and Michael Freed that opens on July 18. Looking forward to making a new altered book piece for an exhibit at the Burton Barr Library in conjunction with the Dinner in the Stacks event in September. Planning a new sculptural/projection piece for a show in October at Grant Vetter’s new Tempe gallery Fine Arts Complex 1101. Working on a print portfolio I organized showcasing 7 artists from around the nation about urban sprawl that will be on display as part of next years Southern Graphics Conference in Portland. And I am just in the planning phase of new drawings for a 3-person exhibition in Las Vegas and the Contemporary Forum Grant recipient exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum in 2016.

What's your most valued tool as an artist?
My most valued tool is a good metal ruler. It guides me when I make a line. It allows me to measure and be precise. I use it as an edge to cut against or tear paper with. There is always at least one with in reach when I am in the studio.

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