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A new friend of Bulgaria in Salt Lake City, Utah: the young American artist Peter Nielsen

Date: 12.12.2007

Since November 2006, every first Sunday of the month the members of the Bulgarian society in Utah have met to party. On Oct 7th 2007 our special guests were two new for the Bulgarian society Americans – the young artist Peter Nielsen and a former missioner in Bulgaria Braidy. Peter came with his survey questions about Bulgaria that made me curious to continue with him our conversation from September 7th when I first met him in the Gallery in Downtown Salt Lake that promoted some of his pictures. He is also one of the 10 artists selected for the exhibit “The Best of the Year” in Downtown Salt Lake City which opened on Friday, Dec 7th, as well as he is nominated for the best Promotio of young artists in 2007 (with 2 participations in Downtown group exhibits and one exhibit only with his pictures).

L Nikolova: Peter, your The Love’s Rose will be the first non-family piece of art in my home in the USA. For me it is like a Bulgarian rose from my homeland, the Karlovo valley, that I really love forever as it is written on the picture. But I believe you have your special reason for the birth of the Love’s Rose and generally why do you like the theme of the roses?

Peter Nielsen: To me roses represent the feminine and natural beauty.  There is a reason the girls like roses… they always compliment a woman’s beauty.  Originally this was to be a gift for my fiancé, but she rejected me.  Oh well, what can you do?

L Nikolova: Then, it is in good hands. Now, you can love forever Bulgaria, as we, the Bulgarians, do. Today for the first time you saw so many Bulgarians at one place. What is your first impression?

Peter Nielsen: Well, I just wished I could speak the language. I felt a little like a foreigner.

L Nikolova: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

Peter Nielsen: I’m not from Utah. I was born in Salem, OR and raised in Alabama. I guess the American South is what I’m used to most, but it’s not really “in my blood.”  My dad is a Professor of microbiology and my Mom has always been a house wife.  Creativity and education are very important for me and my family. Currently I’m in school at BYU studying psychology.

L Nikolova: You have really wonderful family and for me was really a great pleasure to have met your parents and siblings on the opening of your third exhibits for this year (Dec 7th). And I have already shared with you that for me Psychology is the science of the century. It looks to me reasonable after art education you to continue with Psychology. How do you think the last will influence your art?

Peter Nielsen: It already has affected my art. In high school all of my art was very surreal, of course my favorite artist was Salvador Dali. In school I was always good at the sciences but they always had deterministic answers for problems, this bored me. Art gave a medium for answering questions and expressing one’s self without everone ‘correct’ answer. Psychology as a science isn’t deterministic, or at least not completely, which is why it’s the science for me.

L Nikolova: A month ago in Downtown Salt Lake there is your individual exhibit in Nostalgia Café. I think it is a great idea since for me the art should be a spirit of our everydayness. When did you in fact start to believe that art could be your destiny?

Peter Nielsen: I’ve always like drawing pictures, one of the main things I did as a child was make things. Not pictures but things like planes and bows and arrows. I was always very imaginative and resourceful.

L Nikolova: Tell us a little bit more about your project concerning Bulgaria?

Peter Nielsen: Well I would like to go to Karlovo and study the culture and the famous oil rose. It would be nice to shoot pictures of the actually oil rose for future paintings.

L Nikolova: What would you like to see in our society in 10 years that is missing today?

Peter Nielsen: In Utah it would be nice to see people taking more of an interest in the arts and less in pop culture and frivolous luxuries.

L Nikolova: I think we have been working hard on this project. Do you like music and if so, what kind of music?

Peter Nielsen: I Love Music! All kinds really, mostly happy stuff. Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Petty, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Beatles, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, the list goes on…

L Nikolova: Thank you for your kind response to answer my questions. I would like just to let you know that we will be really glad if you come in future to Karlovo on the 18th of July when we every year celebrate the birth day of Vassil Levski.

L. Nikolova: Do you like the idea about focusing on the cultural events of the year in Salt Lake and its neighborhood? If so, why?

Peter Nielsen: I definitely feel like cultural events in SLC are important and refreshing for the normal standard in the city. Cultural events are really important for the society.
Not just Salk Lake but anywhere in general. People need to experience other modes of living and explaining life’s mysteries.

L. Nikolova: Thank you for your time and for your answers. I wish you future great success in both fields – the art and psychology.

Lolita Nikolova, PhD

Website of the International Institute of Anthropology on the topic:

Magic of art. Exhibits in Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah

Cultural Events of the Year in Salt Lake City and Its Neighborhood

Bulgarians in Utah

Lolita Nikolova

Articles at

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