Vasco Kirov was born in the town of Dobrich, Bulgaria in 1960. He had a formal education in music and worked as a violin teacher in the early eighties. A desire for greater creative exposure and richer life experiences subsequently lead him to working as a prospecting driller, knife maker, blacksmith and ethnic jewellery maker, among others. After immigrating to South Africa in 1991, he immersed himself in fine jewellery design and manufacture, and was awarded seven prestigious design awards for excellence in diamond jewellery design. Vasco still designs and fabricates fine jewellery pieces in his studio in Cape Town. Vasco started painting on stretched canvas in 2003 as a means of exploring a new form of creative expression. He never paints real objects – the compositions and colours rather spring from dreams or visualisations. Conveying an overall emotional impetus is what drives the creative process, rather than a direct representation of actual forms and colours. Vasco’s work is known for his use of vibrant colours and plentiful texture. Earth gives birth to the gemstones in extreme conditions. Extreme pressure and temperature, over extreme period of time create cores of concentrated energy. These are purified by fire, hardened by pressure and once light is added to the equation, they come alive. The “Gemstones” collection of paintings captures the way I imagine this creation to come about. In the paint application techniques, I aimed to emulate the effortless way nature created them: with bold strokes, creating harmony of light and colour, within the chaos of formlessness.