Artist for one night? Why not

An avant-garde idea has made its way also to Bulgaria, as a creative industry and startup

The entrepreneurial family of Dani and Vladislav Zaharievi offers a form of entertainment they've called: Painting and wine for relaxation after the working day.

The atmosphere is pleasant, and the location is convenient. Their studio is situated at 20 Galileo Galilei St in Sofia. A quality drink sparkles in an elegant glass next to the easel and the visitors decide on their own in what company they can spend a few hours in an atmosphere of creativity and without any tension. The value added for the client is that at the end of the evening they leave the place with a painting drawn by themselves.

Virtuoso is the name of the studio where a glass of rose, white or red wine from a renowned cellar is served. Each guest sits on their own with their mood in front of a white canvas, which is their future painting. A palette of paints and brushes has been prepared.

The brand Virtuoso can also be seen on the stylish black aprons worn by the newly-tempted painters. They are also free to choose the theme of their artwork - Tuscany, Northern Lights, Rainy Evening, Summer Memory, On the Streets of Paris, Hawaii and others.

Exactly such a thematic picture or another free of copyright image inspires newcomers in the art. A professional artist stands next to them - Danail Alexiev or Maria Atanasova. They assist and unobtrusively guide the painters. How to place the composition and what base to be put on the canvas, how to choose the angle of the image and what to be the proportions of the image, its tones, chiaroscuros and colour mixing. The mentors sometimes help with the brush if the painting is to be impressive. It also happens for them not to interfere if the client puts their mind to drawing a goldfish instead of the previously set theme of Sea Waves, for example.

Painting and wine is an attraction that has made its way to Sofia, and recently in other big cities as well, as a side business of gallery owners, art critics and managers. Dani Zaharieva had been painting in another gallery when her family decided to try their hand in the field of creativity during one's free time.

“We offer an unforgettable evening, participation and inclusion in the fine arts - says Dani Zaharieva. When we started three years ago, all twenty easels in the studio were occupied on most evenings and weekends. Now, in the situation of eased measures against the Covid-19 pandemic, we are opening even for three or four visitors. We secure for everyone much more distancing than the prescribed one, more than four square metres of distance between the painters, and additionally masks and disinfectants. Our current expenses for paintings, frames, paints, drinks, remunerations, heating, taxes, rent, social marketing and last but not least - hygiene, can be covered if we welcome at least five guests per night, and five days a week. We have not received any help from the state to support our business. Thank God, my husband and I are working and we can still afford not to close Virtuoso Studio. It is impossible to make a living from this business alone. It is hellishly tough because of the emergency situation, but we are still fighting to grow.”

During the weekend, children draw penguins and other favourite animals in the studio. Of course, they drink juice. For children and adults, pottery is also offered in addition to painting.

The idea of ​​combining art and wine originated in America, but it has also developed in Europe in recent decades. Somewhere, instead of brushes, people create paintings by using their fingers. Elsewhere, instead of acrylic paints, as in Virtuoso, they use oil or tempera tubes, or even wine. Thus, the paintings by the one-evening artists carry nuances of this eternal elixir.

More information about the Virtuoso Studio of Dani and Vladislav Zaharievi can be found at

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