Petya Boneva is the artistic soul of the Startup Factory Association team. Her delicacy, warmth, and professionalism in lecturing and conducting courses made her a favorite teacher for children, youth, and adults alike.
They also turned her into our favorite partner.
Petya has a vibrant experience in digital arts – each of her lectures is a source of vast, synthesized knowledge, inspiration, and beauty. Her belief that emotions make us stronger, especially in creative professions, is valid for any development field.
Emotions are what artificial intelligence cannot take away from us (at least for now) and what makes us real, complete individuals.
In the conversation with Petya, we touched on two hot topics: human creativity and artificial intelligence.
✔️ Is creativity a gift only for the chosen ones?
✔️ Is artificial intelligence the enemy of man?
✔️ What is man’s most significant advantage over machines?
You will learn the answers to these and other curious questions in our interview with Petya.
We thank her from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time to participate in the series of interviews with prominent people from the Startup Factory Community!
Ana Todorova prepared the questions for the interview.
Cover photo: Hristina Sokolova
All images in this interview are author’s digital drawings by Petya Boneva.
Hello, Petya! I’m delighted that you’ve agreed to this interview. While the Startup Factory community is undoubtedly familiar with your extensive contributions through numerous courses and lectures, could you share a bit about yourself?
I’m delighted you’ve taken an interest in my somewhat unconventional lifestyle.
I’d like to give you a brief glimpse into who I am: by profession, I’m a doctor in industrial design, but at my core, I’m an artist. My passion lies in digital illustration, where I enjoy sketching portraits, crafting fantasy characters, designing crypto art, and expressing my love for Warframe fan art.
Over the last five or six years, I’ve ventured into a realm distinct from my academic background. I’ve delved into the dynamic universe of crypto tokens, NFTs, AI, streaming, and the fascinating world of digital arts. For many, these subjects may seem as controversial as they are exciting.
When did you realize that digital painting was your vocation, and did you quickly find the path to successful realization?
It might sound amusing or even unbelievable, but identifying myself as an artist or recognizing that art and design were my true vocation didn’t occur to me naturally. They’ve become as essential as the air I breathe, accompanied by an insatiable desire to bring my inner world to life, tackle creative challenges, and explore the realms of the better, the fantastical, and the unique — those elusive concepts we often yearn for but struggle to find in our surroundings.
True success in any field is complex, especially when transitioning from a hobby or passion to a profitable and sustainable business. It’s tempting to seek instant success, but establishing a lasting impact requires genuine skill — a skill that I am continually honing and perfecting.
In our recent lecture, you touched upon the notion, if I may rephrase, that a creative individual cannot fit into the confines of an 8-hour workday. Creativity, as you highlighted, doesn’t adhere to set working hours, and there’s a certain threshold beyond which overload takes precedence. I’m curious to know if businesses and your clients grasp and accommodate this perspective.
Fortunately, in my experience collaborating with various organizations and clients, there’s a growing acknowledgment of human creativity’s paramount roleAs you highlighted, creativity. Many understand that the conventional 8-hour workday can significantly constrain creative minds.
Creative individuals often employ unconventional methods and may require more time to nurture their projects. Inspiration tends to strike beyond the typical working hours, devoid of the stress and urgency that can compromise the quality of work.
Regrettably, some sectors still adhere to the traditional working hour model. While it’s feasible to collaborate with them, the experience tends to add additional fear and anxiety into the equation, detrimentally impacting the creative process. Finding a balance between creative freedom and conforming to traditional structures remains an ongoing challenge.
And here’s a philosophical question… In your perspective, is creativity an innate gift or a skill that develops over time? What factors contribute to one’s creative prowess, and do you believe it’s a trait inherent in every individual?
This question has become a personal favorite of mine, inspired by the teachings of the late Prof. Orloev.
From my humble understanding, humans are inherently designed to create. Building and leaving a mark are integral aspects of our nature.
These inclinations often manifest early in life, influencing subsequent development or, unfortunately, neglect.
It’s not merely enough to possess the gift; it requires conscious realization and effective nurturing through appropriate methods and techniques to transform into a wealthy and creative individual.
The journey from potential to actualization is where creativity truly blossoms.
How do you sustain your creativity amidst the backdrop of daily concerns and the impact of economic and political crises on the creative process?
The impact of stress, anxiety, and tension is undeniable; they cast a shadow on every individual, affecting creativity in the process. However, the crucial aspect lies in navigating and overcoming these challenges.
Here are several approaches that have proven effective in preserving my creative spark:
Transfer of Knowledge and Information: A method ingrained in me during my Ph.D. studies, I’ve discovered that inspiration can be drawn from every facet of life, even those seemingly unrelated to art.
Rest: There are moments when stress and fatigue accumulate to a point where a brief rest becomes essential. Stepping away from work allows for a much-needed recharge and a fresh perspective.
Facing Your Fears: Confronting unfamiliar and challenging tasks can give rise to apprehension and fears regarding successful completion, often pushing us out of our comfort zones. Such projects, while initially daunting, prove not only beneficial but necessary for professional growth and improvement.
Communication with Other Creatives: Engaging with a community of fellow creatives provides a valuable exchange of ideas and diverse perspectives. The sharing of thoughts and experiences within this community can be remarkably rejuvenating. The collaborative environment often spawns new ideas and enriches one’s creative outlook.
Your field undergoes constant transformation driven by emerging technologies and their opportunities. How crucial is it for you and your peers to stay up-to-date with technological advancements? Is there still a place for the traditional white paper and colored pencils, or is the prevailing trend leaning heavily towards digitization?
The significance of keeping pace with future technologies in digital art cannot be overstated. In my professional sphere, insufficient knowledge about new digital tools and programs can derail entire projects and jeopardize contracts with major companies, resulting in significant financial losses.
Amidst this relentless technological race, there’s an intriguing resurgence of interest in traditional art. Despite the demands of the digital era, traditional methods are increasingly cherished, often on par with or surpassing digital creativity in value, attributed to their distinctiveness and authenticity. The coexistence of these two realms raises compelling questions about the evolving landscape of artistic expression.
Regarding enhancing your technological knowledge, I’m always impressed by the up-to-date information you share during your presentations. Could you shed some light on where you source your information and how you stay current in the ever-evolving landscape of technology?
Over the past six years, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with distinguished figures in the art world — individuals who not only embody creativity but also serve as researchers, marketers, and entrepreneurs. Their diverse perspectives contribute to a wealth of success and knowledge that continually enriches my understanding.
Engaging with various creative groups has been instrumental in staying abreast of the latest trends in the digital sphere. These networks provide valuable insights, embody creativity, and the opportunity to test and explore new software products, ensuring that my technological knowledge remains current and relevant.
Digital artists and individuals with your talent level can work from anywhere globally. Yet, you’ve chosen to live and cultivate your skills in Bulgaria, where you also completed your higher education. Do you believe the choice of location plays a significant role? Is it a decisive factor for success?
The crucial element lies in the people rather than the location itself.
The individuals surrounding me, with their exceptional minds, have profoundly influenced my creative and professional journey. While technology facilitates communication and collaboration with talented individuals worldwide, it has enabled me to realize my dream of remaining in Bulgaria while maintaining competitiveness on the global stage.
Of course, technology and the opportunity to communicate and work with people from all over the world allow me to fulfill my dream, namely, to stay in Bulgaria but to be competitive in the world market.
In the digital art realm, the issue of “copy-paste” seems far from uncommon. Do you know if this problem exists, and what, in your view, could be a viable solution?
Regrettably, this problem is widespread in digital environments. Any artwork shared on the Internet is susceptible to being downloaded, altered, and re-uploaded with new attribution, casting doubt upon the actual authorship. Many of us have experienced the frustration of intellectual theft, and establishing proof can be a very difficult, if not impossible, task.
Nevertheless, there are proactive measures to counteract this issue. Implementing licenses and copyright registration, incorporating watermarks and unique symbols visible only to the original author, raising awareness about copyright and ethical considerations in online spaces, and utilizing specialized platforms that register each digital work and its creators are all effective strategies. Notably, NFT platforms exemplify this last approach, providing a secure and traceable means of establishing ownership in the digital realm.
Any work uploaded to the Internet can be downloaded to a local computer, corrected, and re-uploaded with new initials, putting authorship under a big question mark.
A pressing question on many minds lately is: Will artificial intelligence snatch away your livelihood?
It’s likely the initial inquiry that surfaces for everyone upon encountering the term “artificial intelligence.” Right now, my response is actually The initial inquiry likelycontingent on the specific domain under consideration.
Artificial intelligence encounters a significant limitation in the creative realm—it lacks emotion, even with its remarkable technical capabilities. Devoid of emotional depth, there’s a crucial absence of the driving force for aspirations and goals.
Conversely, in other sectors, the impact of artificial intelligence on employment hinges on various factors, encompassing the pace of technological advancement, socio-economic conditions, and the decisions made by society and businesses alike.
Our ability to adeptly navigate and adapt to these evolving processes will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of the future labor market.
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And here lies the biggest debate: who reigns supreme — natural intelligence or its artificial counterpart, man or machine? Is there a definitive advantage that humans hold over AI?
My perspective might evoke some contradictions, but to me, natural (human) and artificial intelligence are intertwined facets of the same phenomenon. They function as complements, engaging in a dynamic synergy where no veil obscures either party.
The human mind stands unparalleled in its attributes—creativity, a rich imagination, fantasy prowess,most significan formal and informal logic, and an embedded sense of ethics and morality. Yet, its inherent limitations, such as processing vast datasets and susceptibility to errors, render it inherently incomplete.
Conversely, artificial intelligence serves as a corrective force, rectifying the errors introduced by human factors. With its unmatched speed, efficiency, and sustained productivity, AI emerges as the ideal companion, fostering and elevating human creativity to new heights. Together, they form a partnership that transcends the boundaries of individual capabilities, creating a harmonious interplay between the organic and the synthetic.
To me, natural (human) and artificial intelligence are intertwined facets of the same phenomenon. They function as complements, engaging in a dynamic synergy where no veil obscures either party.
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Ana Todorova prepared the interview, part of our meetings with exciting and motivating personalities.
Ana Todorova develops the organization’s digital marketing. She maintains the Startup Factory website and the video course platform she created in 2022. She writes content on various topics such as decentralized technology, green and circular economy, emotional intelligence, leadership, and more.
Emanuel Tonev is among the active young people forming the Bulgarian marketing community. For our team, it is also a natural continuation of our collaboration with the entrepreneurial and proactive community of Varna.
Jane Dimitrova co-founded the increasingly popular platform FoodObox – a digital solution to combating food waste.
Zornitsa Mitkova, managing director of Teenovator, impresses me at first glance with her inexhaustible energy and dedication to the youth.
Startup Factory is a non-profit organization founded in March 2015 by a group of young entrepreneurs working in the IT sector. Startup Factory helps people develop their digital and business skills. Together, we build a supportive community. Check out our platform with on-demand video courses and valuable free resources.