Diana Shtereva; a Hamburg-based, Bulgarian-born artist, illustrator and architecture pro who’s work drawing intimate portraits for people homes won her a front page slot on Kickstarter last year!

To top things off HQ have even hired her to bring to life a recent store concept The Sense Network helped create. Talk about co-creation.

Read all about her in her Senser Story below…

Kick off your interview by saying hello.

Hi Sensers! It’s a huge pleasure for me to be part of this creative community! My name is Diana and I’m an artist, illustrator and architecture graduate. I am from Bulgaria and currently I am based in Hamburg, where I work in an Architecture office and also continue with my art and illustration related freelance projects and commissions.

Copyright: Diana Shtereva

We want to know what you’re up to in the real world.

As a kid I spent quite a lot of time exploring and I always felt a need to do try a lot of new things. At the age of 14 I realised that drawing was my thing and I switched to an art school where I had my first interaction with oil paint, canvases, art history and even clay… This feeling of wanting to learn and do more led me to the decision to move abroad after graduation.

I consider myself to be very lucky, because from the moment I set foot in university, I knew that architecture will be a huge passion of mine… I enjoy the whole process – everything from simply starting with a sketch, to its execution.

The most rewarding thing for me is working on something different every day and to learn along the way… And over time I stopped wondering if I should “become” an artist or an architect, because… why not just do both?

Copyright: Diana Shtereva

Give us a peek into your favourite working environment. What does your working process look like and how do you use this space to be productive?

I’ve been moving quite a lot for the last few years, so it’s been difficult to create a comfortable working space for myself and my freelance work. I got used to carrying my sketchbook around and to stick with a few basic art supplies, so it’s not too bad when I decide to move again.

I currently work full-time in a lovely architecture office in Hamburg, so my routine is basically ‘draw whenever you have time’! I also spend a lot of time communicating with my clients and staying present on social media, because it’s very important to me to give my best in every single project and to connect with the people who enjoy my work.
Copyright: Diana Shtereva

Tell us about someone who helped you get you where you are today or someone who inspires you and why?

I can’t thank enough my family and friends who encouraged me and supported me in all my crazy ideas, believed in me and pushed me to do even more. Also, a huge motivation boost were all the people who backed my Kickstarter projects! It’s such a great opportunity to have your work seen and getting messages from happy Kickstarter backers and customers is just the greatest thing ever!

Where are you ‘from’… We’d love to know about the area you live and why you chose this place?

That’s the most complicated question for me and people often get confused after I give the full answer!

So, I am Bulgarian-Turkish, born and raised in Bulgaria. I moved to Vienna, Austria when I was 18. When I was close to graduation I moved to Romania for a few months to do a project. Then I got an internship in Brussels, Belgium, where also my parents currently live. After the internship I switched to being freelance to be able to take a few opportunities that came my way and also to complete my first Kickstarter project.

I am currently living in Hamburg, Germany, where I do all the things I love – I work in architecture, I draw, I study languages and travel. I often get asked which is my favourite place, but they all have a different meaning for me. They are all present in a way in my artwork, especially with their typical architecture.

Hamburg has been amazing so far – it’s full of life and very calm at the same time and I could definitely see myself staying longer here. I am very happy that I get to experience so many different places and I am excited to see where life will take me next!

And lastly a quick fire round…

Do you have any advice for someone working in the same sector / interest as you hoping to make it?

Write down stuff, take notes, make small and messy sketches! You never know when the inspiration will hit you and you might come back to an idea you had years ago.

A must read?

I love reading in my native Bulgarian, so every time I am back home, I pick up a few contemporary poetry or short story books.

A must listen?

Currently enjoying listening to a Turkish psych-folk band called Altın Gün.

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