Seven Questions with... Anastasia Velikova

Anastasia Velikova
Anastasia Velikova
This week we meet History of Art student Anastasia Velikova, who recently won the Gombrich prize for highest performance in her year. Anastasia chats to us about her involvement with the Art Business Society and recommends spending a late evening at Christie’s Auction House.

What are you studying, why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future?

I am currently in my second year, studying BA History of Art. I am an artistic person, but my love for art did not transfer into creating it. That is why, when I found this course, I was delighted that I could explore the beauty of the art world and participate in it, yet in a different way. I love reading and writing, which is what the course mostly consists of, and I find myself reading books in the library for hours, fascinated by how much of the art world I had never explored prior to coming here. Additionally, the course is quite diverse in topics, and I love the freedom that they allow for our own exploration, the freedom to choose our own subjects, and to develop our own argumentation, analysis, and interests.

For now, I think I will continue with a Master’s in the same sphere, and who knows, one day I might become a curator in a gallery - or at least that is my dream.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or gotten involved with while at UCL?

I would say my time on the committee of the Art Business Society. I have been a part of it for almost two years now - last year as a Marketing Officer, and this year as President. I love being a part of this group of lovely like-minded individuals, who are interested in the same field as me. Although some of us study History of Art, many of our members are actually from different courses, so it’s inspiring to see how many people have an active interest in how the art world works.

We organise many interesting events, and I love working with the other committee members to keep this community alive and active, to generate interest and discussions on the topic of the diverse world of art, and thus help to demystify it. It is also fascinating to meet so many professionals from the field I would like to go into in the future, to see their path in life and to organise talks with them, so they can share their experience with our members. I think being a part of a society, and being a committee member, is what is unique about university, since you have a community outside of your course, where you can meet people with similar interests and thus learn and grow together.

Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?

I would say the Law section of the Main Library - it is such a gorgeous place. I usually bring my art books there to study, because it makes me feel like I am in a movie!

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:

London has put its spell on me, after almost two years of being here. At this point I love it so much, I could just take a mindless walk around central London and it fills me with so much energy. But if I had to choose specific activities I would say:
  • Visiting galleries - the ones I most frequently visit are Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy, and some hidden galleries all over Mayfair. They are perfect for rainy days when you feel like getting lost in a different world. And of course, Sotheby’s and Christie’s - not many people know, but they have gorgeous permanent collections that are free to see.
  • Christie’s Lates - you see their permanent collection, there are talks, live music, and drinks and it’s free! I recommend for any lovers of art and elegant evenings.
  • Watching a ballet in the Royal Opera House - they have a student discount and special sales for members under 25. I am always so enchanted by the dancers, and I love The Nutcracker.

If you could study a different subject, what would it be and why?

Probably Arts and Sciences. I like that the course has some modules on research methodologies, and mathematical thinking, which you can combine with modules on humanities. Thus, it would combine my love for the art world and research and logical thinking. It would also be a fun way to explore the verge point of two seemingly opposite disciplines - the more you delve into the art world, the more you learn that science plays a huge role in it.

Who inspires you and why?

Everyone in these questions answers that it is their mom, and I do not want to seem like I am copying them, but in all honesty, she is my biggest inspiration. She has taught me everything I know about self-love, and believing in yourself, even when others do not. She has taught me that you can get through any trouble, you can take any fall, if you try to find the positive and believe that your dreams are worth fighting for. I would also say my dad, because he is the one who taught me that curiosity and a constant focus on self-improvement are the best ways to progress in life, to always strive for more and to be the best possible version of myself. Without their love and support, I would not be where I am right now, and I could not be happier. They have helped me build my love for the arts as well, and my dedication to fighting for what is important for me.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I actually studied in a specialised maths school for three years and was at the top of my class, and before that I wanted to go to ballet school, but a drastic change of both career paths came in my junior year of high school when I chose to study in a linguistics profile. So, I used to be very good at math and science, but also really wanted to become a ballerina!
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