Though Bulgarian-born, New Jersey-based mixed-media artist Kremena Lefterova has only been devoting herself to artmaking full-time since 2011, she has been honing her eye and working with her hands over the course of her varied career. She began with cakes and hats. While in school for industrial design and fine art, she first took a job in a bakery, where she became so skilled at concocting custom-made cakes that she garnered great business and prestigious accolades. Turning from batter and frosting to felt and leather, she later interned for a famous hat designer and learned how to craft her own elaborate headpieces. Work as a graphic designer and creator of television shows, music videos, and commercials followed, eventually leading to a key role in a software company—which brought her to Asia and changed the course of her career once again.
While living in Asia for business, Lefterova discovered a passion for fantastical ceramic and porcelain figurative sculptures. Bringing her rich work and life experiences to bear on her own sculptural creations, she produces whimsical human, animal, and insect forms, which also appear in her detailed drawings and works on paper. Sculptures like The Beginning of Earth or The Prince Eager to be Kissed (both 2014), for example, bring to mind fairytales, myths, and dreams, sometimes dark. The former features a creature with the face of a fish, the ears and horns of a ram, and an amorphous, bulbous body, on top of which sits an animal-like pod in the midst of birthing a human head with legs where ears should be. The latter features a plump figure dressed as a harlequin, who clutches in his oversized hands a prince with a splayed-open body cavity. Such strange beings serve as both form and content for the artist. Their interlocking, multi-part bodies structure her compositions, while their expressive countenances and large eyes convey a sense of emotion and inner life that seems fundamentally human.