Constructing new stories from old, my work marries words with images in ways that can bring to light and celebrate histories which would otherwise remain hidden, overlooked or side-lined...
I am Kremena Dimitrova,
... a London based Illustrator, Lecturer and Researcher with a clear academic and visual research trajectory, exhibition track record and broad knowledge of traditional and digital media. My interest and expertise lie in narrative and situated illustration methods, reportage drawing, public history and visual historiography, socially engaged, site-specific and public art, visual interventions, use of creative processes and application of artistic insights in diverse educational, cultural and heritage settings. My commissions and research focus on visual history-telling in the museum and heritage sectors. My interest and expertise in the fields made me embark on an interdisciplinary practice-based PhD in Visualising History at the University of Portsmouth (2019-) which explores the graphic novel as an innovative form of historiography and focusses on Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Franklin House as the case study. Themes of interest cover visualising history, public history, historical revisionism, alternative histories, historiographical reflection on narrative and democratisation in historical representation, myth, memory and memory telling.
I have worked on a range of privately commissioned and self-initiated projects, and I have had a number of published works. My work features in print, online, book publishing, design, and advertising. Major commissions range from National Lottery Heritage Funded projects and illustration residencies at Benjamin Franklin House, Bishop’s Stortford Museum and The University of Manchester to illustrating Lonely Planet Kids’ children’s activity books series and developing an artistic vision for a new community housing development site in the Borough of Eastleigh. My work can be found in the shops of various university libraries and museums across the UK, including The John Rylands Library, Benjamin Franklin House and The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge (Canterbury Museums and Galleries). My work is also part of The University of Manchester's permanent collections at The John Rylands Library. I am represented by Allied Artists Illustration Agents
The University of Manchester and The John Rylands Library, Manchester
ARTIST / RESEARCHER RESIDENCIES
The National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas (May 2020 - Jul 2020)
VJ-Day 75 socially engaged site-specific digital commission - employing a graphic narrative format, explore the lasting impact the conflict in Japan and the Second World War have on today’s culture and society; plan and deliver online (hi)story-telling/illustration workshops and develop a suite of digitally-accessible activity sheets and a colouring book to engage young people in learning and remembrance of those who served and sacrificed in the Far East focusing on the British 14th Army (the “Forgotten” Army) and most diverse army in history; engage in visual research investigations and use young people’s creative responses to produce a unitary collaborative (hi)storytelling graphic narrative to form the Arboretum’s first digital exhibition commemorating the 75th anniversary of VJ-Day; contribute to a social media campaign to promote the project.
Eastleigh Borough Council, Eastleigh (Mar 2020 - Jun 2020)
One Horton Heath site-specific community heritage commission - develop an artistic vision in a graphic narrative format inspired by the (hi)stories of a new community housing development site (homes, local facilities, infrastructure) in the Borough of Eastleigh on the theme The Journey (depicting the past and present development and future vision). Create work in adaptable formats for hard copy usage (flyers, posters, site signage) and digital platforms advertising campaigns (One Horton Heath website, e-marketing, social media channels) to serve as an official image and an umbrella piece speaking to different audiences by establishing a sense of place and purpose.
The University of Manchester’s Centre for Jewish Studies and The John Rylands Library, Manchester (Jan 2020-)
50 Jewish Objects Project - research and visually investigate, employing a graphic narrative format, a 13C compendium of Jewish law - a manuscript of Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil’s Sefer Mitzvot Qatan (Semaq). Plan, organise and deliver outreach activities programme comprising of graphic narrative/story-telling demonstrations and workshops in Manchester Jewish community sites to showcase the project, captivate public’s interest and widen understanding of artefacts, Jewish history, and Jewish studies; design merchandise based on the commission. Project's blog
Benjamin Franklin House, London (Jun 2015-) (National Lottery Heritage Funded)
Commission to produce a children’s activity book Benjamin Franklin: At Home in London and contemporary illuminations used as educational projections in the museum to enrich young audiences’ experiences during historical re-enactments;
delivered talks and ran mixed media illustration workshops for museum visitors and school children.
The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, Canterbury (Apr 2018 - Feb 2019) (Canterbury Council and Canterbury Museums and Galleries, CCC Funded)
A site-specific community heritage graphic narrative exhibition installation commission Beyond War - Visualising Peace: Responding to the Armistice of 1918 commemorating 100 years since the end of WW1 focussing on the often (unsung) contributions of ordinary women during the war and the peace beyond.
Bishop’s Stortford Museum and Middlesex University, Bishop’s Stortford (Nov 2013 - Aug 2014) (National Lottery Heritage Funded)
Illustrated rare Hertfordshire’s WW1 police archives in a graphic narrative format visually documenting and bringing to light the experiences of policemen and ordinary people during the War. Published in an anthology book On the Beat: Stories from 1914-1918 commemorating 100 years since the beginning of WW1. Project reviewed and approved by the Houses of Parliament; press coverage by the BBC and the Times; gave educational talks to local schoolchildren.
ILLUSTRATION / DESIGN COMMISSIONS
Auris Tech Limited, London (Jan 2020 - Mar 2020) - commission to design and illustrate a children’s e-book The Painting for a market leading educational Fonetti app which offers innovative speech recognition solutions for children - a learning system encouraging and assisting children as they learn to read.
Oxford City Council, Oxford (Jan 2020) - A Cup of Inspiration site-specific illustration responding to the climate emergency - printed on giant coffee cup recycling bins installed in Oxford to create a trail of inspiration in three of Oxford’s business areas and inspire people to take positive action to address the climate emergency.
Amuse Yourself, London (Sep 2018 - May 2019) - created illustrations, design panels, handwritten logo, for website use encapsulating the company’s creative offerings, from museum and gallery tours to bespoke talks and life drawing classes.
UCL Institute of Education, London (Sep 2017-) Department of Culture, Communication and Media - info map/trail design for MA Museums and Galleries in Education showcasing the main university areas and facilities as part of the induction package for new students used by the marketing department of UCL Institute of Education across the wider university community.
UCL Institute of Education, London (Jun 2016) Thomas Coram Research Unit - commission to design a collaborative comic strips e-book Child Language Brokering: Spaces of identity belonging and mediators of cultural knowledge. The aim was to produce outputs for the wider public and raise awareness about the lives and practices of young interpreters (aged 13-15). I combined students’ original writings and drawings generated during workshops to create the e-book. The e-book highlighted issues important to the young people, communicating their own feelings, thoughts and experiences being young interpreters in a creative way. The e-book was showcased as part of an exhibition event in the young people’s schools and online.
Literary Lifestories, London (Jul 2016 - Aug 2016) - book cover design for a novelette.
The Rude Mechanicals, Shakespeare in Shoreditch Festival, London (Feb 2016 - Mar 2016) - poster, logo, map/trail designs capturing The Rude Mechanicals’ performances across the London Borough of Hackney to commemorate 400 years since Shakespeare.
Lonely Planet Kids, London (Apr 2014 - Apr 2015) - illustrated educational sticker books Adventures in Cold Places and Adventures in Smelly Places and created illustrations for a deluxe world atlas Adventures Around the Globe for Lonely Planet Kids' new adventures series for children; each publication included over 250 reusable stickers, world maps, intro, colouring pages, spot the difference, shadow games, puzzles, 3D push-outs, and more. Worldwide publication of all books.
PUBLICATIONS / CHILDREN'S BOOKS
The Painting (Auris Tech Limited Fonetti educational app) (2020)
Benjamin Franklin: At Home in London (2019) (National Lottery Heritage Funded)
Adventures in Smelly Places (Lonely Planet Kids) (2015)
Adventures in Cold Places (Lonely Planet Kids) (2014)
PUBLICATIONS / BOOK ANTHOLOGIES CONTAINING MY ILLUSTRATIONS
Community Artists Colouring Book Vol. 1 (Portsmouth Creates) (2020)
Adventures Around the Globe (Lonely Planet Kids) (2015)
On the Beat: During the Great War 1914 -1918 (Bishop’s Stortford Museum, part of the Rhodes Birthplace trust and Middlesex University) (2014) (National Lottery Heritage Funded)
Sancti Clandestini: Undercover Saints (World Wood Publishing) (2012)
Impressions of Cat Hill (Middlesex University and Pearls of Wisdom Press) (2011)
CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Visual Sources for Historians - Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study University of London (Feb - Mar 2020)
Dimitrova, K. (2020, June). The Cartographic Novel as an Innovative Form of Historiography. Paper presented at the ‘MAPPING - UNCHARTED TERRITORY’ Online Video Conference. Portsmouth.
Dimitrova, K. (2017, March). Teaching Art and Design in an Inclusive Classroom: Adapting the Curriculum. Paper presented as part of Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Symposium. London.
Dimitrova, K. (2019, June). Conference Panel Chair of Assembling Storyworlds. Paper presented at the Joint International Conference of Graphic Novels, Comics and Bandes Dessinées, Manchester.
PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE LECTURES
University of Portsmouth (9 Mar 2020)
University of East London (13 Nov 2018)
Middlesex University, London
- Sorrell Foundation’s National Art and Design Saturday (NADSC) (Nov 2013-)
- Intensive Foundation in Art and Design (Jun 2013 - Sep 2018)
- Summer School (Jun 2015 - Aug 2016)
ILLUSTRATION TALKS AND WORKSHOPS
The National Memorial Arboretum - Digital (Hi)storytelling through Comics workshops (May - Jun 2020)
Manchester Jewish Community Sites - Graphic narratives, storytelling demonstrations (Sep 2020)
University of Portsmouth - (Hi)storytelling through Comics workshop (9 Mar 2020)
Comic Con International Festival of Comics - Storytelling, sequential drawing and character development public workshops (5 May 2019)
L'Ecole de Battersea - Year 4 Primary School Monoprinting workshops (29 Mar 2019)
The Art Trolley - Visual storytelling workshop for children - Comics (23 Feb 2019)
Write & Shine - 'Word & Image' workshop at Waterstones - Tottenham Court Road (24 Jan 2019)
Benjamin Franklin House - Illustration/collage workshops (11 Jul; 22 Aug 2017)
The Bromfords School and Sixth Form College - Illustration workshops - The 6 Word Novel (1 Jul 2015)
The Jewish Museum - Illustration workshops for children under 10s inspired by the exhibition 'Tiger, Mog and Pink Rabbit: A Judith Kerr Retrospective' (1 Aug 2015)
Bishop's Stortford Museum - Illustration talk for school children (6 Oct 2014)
The National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas / 'VJ-Day 75' Digital exhibition (7 Aug - 30 Sep 2020)
Putney Arts Theatre, London / 'Festive Art Exhibition' (Oct 2019 - Feb 2020)
The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge (Canterbury Museums and Galleries), Canterbury / 'The True Meaning of Christmas' (Nov 2019 - Jan 2020)
Candid Arts, London / 'City Life Exhibition' (Oct 2019)
University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth / 'Festival of Doctoral Research' (June 2019)
Putney Arts Theatre, London / 'Summer Art Exhibition' (June - Sep 2019)
The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge (Canterbury Museums and Galleries), Canterbury / 'Beyond War - Visualising Peace: Responding to the Armistice of 1918' (Nov 2018 - Feb 2019)
Putney Arts Theatre, London / 'Winter Art Exhibition' (Nov 2018 - Jan 2019)
Putney Arts Theatre, London / 'Summer Art Exhibition' (Jun - Jul 2018)
CraftLocker, Travelling exhibition / 'Button It' (Jun - Jul 2018)
Candid Arts Trust, London / 'Mixed Media Exhibition' (Apr 2018)
UCL Institute of Education, London / 'MA Art and Design in Education Dissertation Exhibition' (May 2016)
Middlesex University, The Grove, London / 'On the Beat' (Oct 2015)
Bishop’s Stortford Museum, Bishop’s Stortford / ‘WW1 100th Anniversary’ (Aug 2014 - Feb 2015)
Rowan Arts, Resource for London, London / ‘Mad About Art’ (Apr - Oct 2014)
The Arts Cafe, Marbles and Ware Collective / London (Mar - Apr 2014)
Middlesex University, The Grove, London / ‘MoDA Arthur Silver Award Winners’ Exhibition (Nov 2013)
BAR Gallery, Unit 5 Queens Parade, London / ‘The Stables-In-Exile’ (Sep 2013)
St Ia Church, St Ives Sacred Art Exhibition, St Ives / ‘Journeys’ (Sep 2013)
99 Mount Street Gallery, Mayfair, London (July 2013)
The Old Truman Brewery, London / 'Degree Show' (June 2013)
The Invisible Line Gallery, Brick Lane, London / ‘London Locations’ (Feb - March 2013)
The Poetry Café, Covent Garden, London / ‘Sancti Clandestini - Undercover Saints’ (Oct - Nov 2012)
Bankside Gallery, London / ‘RE OPEN’ (Aug - Sep 2012)
The Poetry Café, Covent Garden, London / ‘The Haunts of the Poets’ (Dec 2011- Jan 2012)
Kingsgate Gallery, London / ‘I-Spy Edgware Road’ (Nov 2010)