Belin Martinov

Born in the town of Stara Zagora, the artist studied at the National High School of Art in Sofia and in 1966 entered the National Academy of Arts, studying Book, Illustration and Printed Graphics with the professors Evtim Tomov and Petar Chuklev. His talent for drawing amazed both teachers and students, and as early as 1969, Martinov presented his graphics and drawings in his first solo exhibition.

After graduation, the artist lived and worked in Samokov, Stara Zagora and Sofia, but in 1979, he permanently returns to his hometown. This marks the beginning of his most active creative period – the 80s of the last century. In the span of a decade, Belin Martinov mostly works in the field of graphics, but gradually turns toward drawing.

Drawing is “one of my pursuits, which very rarely – every four or five years – searches for human connection. What I present is graphic painting… I love the quick and rational way of painting,” shares the artist.

His solo exhibition in 1983 is a memorable occasion for some, but challenging for those who seek only beauty in art, as “Belin Martinov’s drawings are not created to please the eyes and even less for decoration.”

After that exhibition, the artist closes in on himself. He paints around the clock, and it seems there is no material Martinov will not use. Pencil, pen, charcoal, pastel, tempera, and ink transfer his emotions onto the white sheet of paper.

              But the more he creates, the less he exhibits. During the second half of the 80s, Belin Martinov lives only to paint. He paints freely, not caring if his works will be liked or will be good enough to be exhibited. The artist is absorbed only in what his imagination brings, and his eyes see. He captures the absurdities of his time and his personal drama on paper. He leads a reclusive lifeand even nails his apartment door shut so nobody will disturb him in his solitude.

The artist presents two more exhibitions (1988 and 1994), and they are his last meetings with the audience.

In 2005, the city art gallery in Stara Zagora presents a retrospective of Belin Martinov’s art – from his university years until his passing. Part of it is later displayed in an exhibition at Shipka 6 Gallery in Sofia in 2015. Ivan Dimov, Ivan Gazdov and Georgi Chapkanov – former school and university mates of Belin Martinov – are among the guests. They share: “When we were students, we all envied the striking drawings of Belin. No one among us could match them.”

In 2015, a small book of poems from the artist’s “drawer” – Coloratura Symphony – was published, and in 2019, his few remaining friends presented 30previously unseen works in the exhibition “The Unknown Belin Martinov” in his hometown.