Our featured artist for our 16th exhibit has been with us for a few releases now and improving with everyone. It is sci-fi painter and photographer Stefan Veselinov.

Lum:Firstly I would like to congratulate you on becoming our latest featured artist, how does it feel to be featured?

Stefan: Well it feels quite nice. I am fairly new to digital art and back in the day when I got dragged into the amazing world that digital art is for me one of my main goals was to get into The Luminarium, because here are the most amazing space artists I know (and back then I was quite bad at it and wanted help and critiques). When I finally got in naturally a next achievment for me was to be a featured artist and I worked in that direction. So now I feel quite honered and happy about it. It makes me feel that what I do has a point and it is not just some random lines on a canvas.

Lum: Well you deserve it! Its great having you on the team aswell. Why don't you tell us a little background about yourself? Hobbies, interesting facts?

Stefan: Well I come from Bulgaria which is a little country in East Europe. I am 23 years old and I am doing digitital art for the last 3 years or so. Back when I was a kid I haven't been into drawing much. I liked to color stuff but that is about it. In high school I drew some graffitti in notebooks and whatnot but I don't consider this as a strong artistic background. The funny thing is that I come from a family of doctors and noone gets how can I am into art and all that jazz. I have a bachelor degree in Computer Science and Technologies which only helps me to fix photoshop crashes and make it runs smoothly on the limited resources that my PC provides . My main hobby is playing PC games and fixing weird PC problems. Other than that I just listen to a crapton of different music styles which inspires me quite a lot. As a whole nothing in my life suggested that I will go into the digital art world but here I am - alive and painting Other than that I just read whatever I get my hands on. I love books and the inspiration they give me. I get quite dragged into the different worlds that books show me.

Lum: Well having a smooth runing photoshop helps a big I'm sure, mine freezes far too much! Without much of an artistic background, and entering the digital-art scene relatively late what was it that got you interested in digital art origonaly?

Stefan: Well I was lurking around deviantart since year 2004 or so. I was mainly browsing for pictures to use as avatars in forums and stuff like that (too bad I don't remember the password for my first account). A couple of years later I got my first photo and started shooting random stuff and upload them in dA. They scuked big time. I had no idea how composition in photographs work and the only thing I knew from PS was the brightness/contrast adjustment . During my whole life I've been interested in science as whole and in particular I've been interested in astrophysics. Of course I don't know **** about it since it is just a hobby thing and although I am good at math the math involved in astrophysics is far beyond me. But I was and still am reading and watching a lot of stuff in the web. So this combined with deviantart lead to the works of taenaron, gucken, pr3t3nd3r and the other gurus of space art. So I though to myself "Hell that is awesome! I want to do this". So I started. It was really rough in the beginning but I found synax444 who became my mentor and tought me a lot of stuff about space art. The other things that helped me hook up to digital art computer games. The art and different worlds that one can see in computer games are something amazing on it's own and capture my imagination like nothing else. Last but not least - I read fantasy books since I was a little kid. I always wanted to people the way I see the worlds described in those books. So the fantasy genre is something that I am really interested in.

Lum: That sounds like what is quite likely a common story, Taenaron, Gucken and Pr3t3nd3r are fantastic artists. You have been producing alot of really high quality artwork recently, any insights into your process you would like to share?

Stefan: Well I don't know what exactly to share. I just start painting. I rarely have an exact idea what I will paint. I usually am inspired by a song or something cool I saw. Then I start skething random stuff and go from there. For example "Monument of a Broken Dream" should've been a green scene with lots of water in it and some broken towers in the middle. But in the process I realized that lava will fit better and since I love flames and volcanoes I started working in this direction. Basically when I need inspiration I fire up Aimp on shuffle with all my music and start browsing Chriscold's gallery From there I start sketching lots of environments and then work and work on it untill it is finished. Space Art wise the process goes a bit different. I feel way more confident creating nebulae and I have created quite a lot of them so I have a fairly good process laid down. Starting with the starfield, basic colors of the neb and then carefully structuring it with apo flames and painting. The answer to good quality pictures for me is mainly practice and do stuff the way it feels most natural and easy for you. There is no point in following tutorials step by step if you feel that you can create the same effect but with different tools. I have The Luminarium to help me get better and I also talk a lot with some artists for advices and crits and also about general tips and tactics to create art. This helps me a lot. Mostly I must say I am getting better because of ChrisCold. He helps me a lot when I paint with advices and his gallery is mindblowing enough to get me inspired anytime I want to paint but am not in the mood for it.

Lum: Chris has that effect on people! You have named a few artists who inspire you, do you have a favourite piece of artwork which always blows your mind? And what is the favourite piece you have produced yourself?

Stefan: There are quite a lot of pieces that always blow my mind when I see them. I can't quite name them because the list will get quite long. I will try to write some artists down and the readers should go and check 'em out. First and most important stand ChrisCold, Voyager212 and IISketchII. Their galleries in DeviantArt are amazing and give quite a lot of inspiration. Other artists I like a l lot are taenaron, gucken, jamajurabaev, tsarye, synax444, Rahll, Les Edwards, Feng Zhu and others. Also I don't know the concept artists that work in the polish game studio People Can Fly but they are freaking awesome. For me tho no artist can be compared to nature. Nature is the greatest artist and there is no doubt about it. Every time I watch Hubble images I want a one way ticket to space to enjoy the views with my own eyes (the fact that this is impossible always makes me sad). As for my works. I am not sure if I have a favorite one. I like what I do but I always feel like there is much more that can be done to get my pieces better. If I have to choose I will probably choose Pyres Of Atonement, Love you or Vials of Life.

Lum: Striving for improvement is something that is a good sign in an artist, an feeling that they can always do better. If you keep this up, where do you think you will be in 10 years time?

Stefan: Well I hope I will be in the game industry as a concept artist. That is my dreamjob and I will do everything I can to do it. Other than that I cannot imagine anything else. Will probably be far away from my homeland. Whatever life throws at me I will get out of this country that I was born in.

Lum: I see no reason why you shouldn't. Onwards and too the future, and on that note I'm afraid this is the end of the interview, its been good fun. Any last words for the readers?

Stefan: Well thanks for the feature and the interview. It has been fun as it was fun to work on the release. Now go listen to some good music and chill while browsing it if you havent done that already. Peace \/ Also drink a whiskey for me.