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Houben r.t. an accomplished artist

January 5, 2024 / Lifestyle

Houben Tcherkelov (also known at Houben R.T.) is an accomplished artist that is known for using currencies to create paintings. His art is known for observing the history, associations, and inherent beauty of coinage.

I recently spoke with Houben to discuss the details behind his inspiration and his journey as an artist.

How Did Your Journey an an artist begin?

I’ve always tried to draw realistically. I was never like most children, who are Picassos by age 5, and then at 10 are drawing bodybuilders and comics. Even then I had teachers not to applaud me, but to encourage me to seek and to work. I started art lessons at the age of 10. I was accepted into a school for gifted painters and after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria I moved to New York City.

Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

I have an older sister, and naturally, she was better than me at everything, except for drawing. This gave me a feeling of security and self-confidence. I felt like becoming an artist might be a good idea. So, yes I always wanted to be an artist.

What helps you create? Is there a certain process that you follow that allows you to be creative?

The process is complicated and involves several stages before the completion of a painting. Initially, I select an image that comes from currency, and the next is preparing the canvass with acrylic accordingly. The third step is heat transfer of the image onto metallic foil. It requires several transfers to have a satisfactory image. The entire process goes back and forth and is not set in stone and involves chance and failures.


You work is well known for your use of currencies – what is the history behind that?

In my work I borrow images from banknotes. My paintings are a way to enter a dialogue with different subjects, different eras, and different ideologies. In currencies, many cultures are manifest in the most clear and direct way. Sometimes this communication is subtle, but often it is overt. As an artist, I translate and distill images on money resulting in an artistic product. This product will receive its own value and, ultimately, be moved into exchange in the same way as currency. Art and money are similar, in that both rely on trust to communicate, since the intrinsic value of painting, as with a printed bill, is just a fraction of its value.

I use repetition of the same subject to highlight this connection further. From early icon paintings through the Renaissance, to Pop Art and Superhero movies, repetition is common in art history, and highlights principles of desire, consumption, and commerce. The representation of money stands in for this desire; whereas previous generations of Pop Art reflected the desire for material objects, the depiction of images from currency may represent an evolution in consumption from material goods to net worth.

Are there any upcoming projects you are working on?

I am just coming back from a solo presentation in Nantucket MA. My next stop will be in early September at the In Sian Art Gallery in Taipei, Taiwan where we are preparing a major solo show and a catalogue with essays . One Interesting detail will be the parallel between Andy Warhol’s oevre and mine. Unlike the King of Pop , who dealt with goods, I am focused on what I’m surrounded by: finance. In a certain sense this is the traditional reaction of an artist to the environment around them.


Where can readers purchase your artwork?

My art can be obtained through art dealers as Bazal Gallery, Charlotte NC www.tfa-advisory.com or DTR Modern Galleries www.dtrmodern.com with locations all over the East Coast. An addition, the Gallery Taipei www.insiangallery.com.

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