She is passionate about the female body and rock music, and she has designed two very successful series of tee-shirts with the images of women, Girls and Twins, which can be found all over the world on the bodies of people of both genders.
Dessy Baeva was born in the small Rhodope town of Rakitovo, and started on her path as an illustrator at age fourteen. She first moved to Plovdiv, then to Southampton, Bristol, and now she lives and works in London. She is passionate about the female body and rock music, and she has designed two very successful series of tee-shirts with the images of women, Girls and Twins, which can be found all over the world on the bodies of people of both genders. A third collection, named Groovy Baby, is coming soon and we can't way to see it. We didn't ask, nor did we verify her answer, but she told us that she also terrible at the guitar. While she's answering our questions, she is looking out the window at people outside and imagining herself as the protagonist of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. She moves with ease between different images and situations in his head, and she paints with the same casual ease and spontaneity, without following the rules of perspective or proportion. That's also how our conversation started.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON CURRENTLY?
I put the finishing touches on the latest line of Groovy Baby tee-shirts. This time they are not printed in my room, but in the new offices of Sito Studio in Sofia. Each new design deserves careful attention, especially when it comes to photography and overall vision.
HOW DID THE GIRL AND TWINS SERIES COME TO BE?
The Girl & Twins tee-shirts came out last spring. I was waking up from a winter nightmare and had just found the strength to create again. I decided to give screen printing a chance and to create something that celebrates women's freedom and strength. I was fooling around and I had almost no expectations. I never thought that this design would become a kind of symbol and have a small community of followers.
WHO ARE THE WOMEN IN YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS?
There is a lot of myself in these women, and of the women who came before me, and of the women around me. I have always been very in touch with my femininity, but in recent years this feeling has taken on a whole new meaning. These women are: mysterious, strong, soft, smart, vulnerable, curious, creative, uncompromising, sensitive, confident and connected to each other by an invisible thread.
HOW WOULD YOU DRAW INTIMACY?
Ha, that is a difficult question! Most likely as two figures flowing into each other, without a beginning or an end.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST STRENGTH OF THE BODY?
The body is our main connection to the physical world. It connects us to the earth. A temple for the soul and a key to human experience.
AND WHAT ARE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT IT?
There are so many stereotypes that are aimed at instilling insecurity in us and making us easy to manipulate. Our bodies are expected to be smooth, slender, symmetrical, hairless, spotless, uncreased, undented, with no warmth whatsoever. On top of that, they must be healthy, strong and immortal, like an army of eternally young clones marching towards eternity. While actual reality is so different…
THE BODY AND THE MIND – OPPOSITES OR PARTNERS?
The physical and the mental are meant to dance together. One keeps us down to earth and connected to everything material, and the other keeps us connected to the energy of the universe. A body without thoughts is just a shell, and a thought without a body is zombie floating in the void.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY IN THE BODY OF A MAN?
Okay, I imagine going into a man's body… I put myself in as many social situations as possible to carefully observe other people's attitudes towards me. I say or do something provocative as an experiment to see how much a man can or cannot get away with. It would be interesting to see how others react when I am vulnerable, I wonder if they would question my need to be vulnerable and open. There is an epidemic of depression among men and I want to know why that is and how our society is to blame for it…