Some of our current Orthodox icons are by artist Ivan Zhabov (pronounced “djah”bov), who was born in Dvarditza, central Bulgaria, in 1961. Although he graduated from the Technical University in Moscow with an engineering degree, he earlier studied music. He continues to sing professionally (opera and Bulgarian National Folk music) but he has found his true passion in painting original works and writing icons.
Zhabov uses tempera or oils on wood. He enjoys sculpture and carving; in fact, many of his paintings start out as a relief carved out of wood, or as a whimsically carved frame. His icons are painted using the traditional techniques and motifs of the church. They are all reproductions of Bulgarian or Russian iconography, but bear a unique, delicate touch that has become his signature style.
Zhabov has given demonstrations on Orthodox painting techniques in Berlin, and has exhibited his personal work in all of the major cities in Bulgaria, as well as in Bonn, Germany. His art is in private collections in Bulgaria, Russia, Japan, Switzerland, Austria, and the U.S.
In addition to icons, Zhabov creates original art in similar formats to his icons.