Born in 1977 in Varna, Bulgaria, Milena Filipova has dedicated more than half of her twenty-eight years to studying and producing art on two continents. At the age of six, she was already taking lessons in drawing and painting at the studio of a famous artist in her hometown. By the age of ten, she had awards from international children’s art competitions and her works were shown at national and international exhibitions. At twelve, she was one of only twenty students chosen at a national competition to attend the prestigious Ilia Petrov National School of Art in Sofia, Bulgaria. She spend five years away from home learning drawing/painting and art history in the Classical European tutorial style as well as following a rigorous academic schedule.
In 1995, she became the first Bulgarian student to earn an international scholarship to attend the Maryland Institute, College of Art (Baltimore). The mixture of classical French and Russian Academism influence from The National School of Fine Arts in Bulgaria was broadened by exposure to Modern American Art. At the Maryland Institute, College of Art, she dedicated all my energy to expanding her previous knowledge to a new artistic context. “Experimenting” was the next stage of her evolution as an artist. There she opened her horizons to arts like installation, computer animation, etc. Milena graduated with honors in 1998 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, concentrating in painting and ceramics.
In 2000, Milena entered the Tyler School Master of Fine Arts Program in Painting. There she won an international grant that allowed her to spend the first year at the Rome campus, studying painting and also teaching an undergraduate course – Painting on Paper. Rome, a place where culture, art, tradition and history blend together to form the most enriching and gratifying experience for an artistic soul, was a dream come true for her. Milena’s second year brought her to Philadelphia where she completed her MFA degree.
Milena Filipova has studied closely with famous artist like Roul Middleman (Acting Director of The Hoffberger School of Painting and The Director of the Figurative Academy in New York), Abby Sangiamo (Chair of The Drawing and General Fine Arts Department at MICA, Yale alumni) Paul Moscatt (Yale alumni and MICA faculty), Donna Nelson (New York artist) and Margo Margolis (Chair of the Painting, Drawing and Sculpture Department at Tyler School of Art). As an artist, she has looked at the hard work of those preceding her. She borrows as much as she can use and adds her own fraction of originality. She express myself in a language that is forceful and poetic, rich and exciting, so that all can understand it. Milena’s work is distinguished mostly through its narrative figurative quality. Her strongest influence comes from Roul Middleman’s and Donna Nelson’s advices.
Milena has participated in many representative exhibitions of Bulgarian art all over the world. She has had solo and group shows in Bulgaria and abroad: New York, Baltimore, Rome and Philadelphia as well as awards from recognized International Biennials.