I often don’t talk about the cultural scene in Bulgaria, personally because I don’t think there’s an integrated and unified scene to speak of and because Varna (my town) seems barren in terms of a cultural life. Or at least I did, because I attended an incredibly necessary event, which proves me happily wrong. Turns out Varna brims with talented folk, who have continued success abroad but lack the environment to gather and strike up a conversation.
The Behance Portfolio Review brings in designers, developers and illustrators of all career stages and provides the platform to showcase their work to locals, strike up conversations and exchange contacts. Saturday, November 9th, saw the second event, which I found to be a finely organized, pleasurable experience with emphasis on a relaxed, feel-good vibe in direct opposition to what I normally expect from a networking event.
The organizers, Slavena Vasileva and Stanislav Hristov, opened the doors to their Dtail Studio* – a slick, minimalistic affair in white and green (well worthy of a Pinterest board) and welcomed in ten presenters and over thirty attendees. I could have gotten my numbers wrong, but I can say that as a fledgling event tailored as a small intimate meeting, the Behance Portfolio Review kills it. I’m definitely a fan and would hope to make it for next year’s string of events.
I met some wonderful people who search for professionals even in content creation, copywriting and creative writing (a welcome surprise). This marks the event successful on a personal level as well as satisfactory when in the presence of the following talented presenters, who stood out for me as highlights:
Kostadin Kostadinov: Logo design and branding professional with an impressive portfolio and a breathtaking presentation on his work process, how an idea morphs from the initial assignment to the interaction with the customer and the translation as an end result. Inspiring and motivational as well as hilarious.
Svetlin Velinov: Illustrator and Game Design specialist, who has garnered success with his work for Magic The Gathering as one of its most celebrated artists. His work represents my ideal for a high aesthetic and is certainly detailed and vibrant. His pieces make for the most stunning addition to your living room walls.
Ivan Berov: Illustrator, Animator and Game Design specialist with an interesting style and varied portfolio. Whether it’s album covers, comic strips or animated shorts, he has a firm handle on things and shows real versatility, which I consider to be the strongest tool of an artist. I certainly hope he continues his hard work and finds more success in the future.
What for me stood out from the whole experience is how many presenters actually represented a more SFF aesthetic. We had dwarves, monsters, aliens, insane clowns and imbecile giants. What generally isn’t seen outside SFF conventions. This is perhaps the biggest advantage to having a scene, which one might say is still in-utero – there is no division. You mix and mingle and it’s a fantastic thing to experience.