January 30, 2019

Alexi Natchev retires as illustration area coordinator

A ceremony to celebrate the service and retirement of illustration area coordinator and printmaking instructor Alexi Natchev was held at Delaware College of Art and Design on the afternoon of January 18.

Natchev was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts, also in Sofia. Since moving to the United States in 1990, he has completed editorial illustrations for publishers such as Doubleday, Penguin Putnam, Random House and Simon and Shuster. Books carrying his work that have been issued since he came to DCAD in 2006 include “The Elijah Door,” “Rock-a-Bye Farm,” “Urso Brunov and the White Emperor,” “Sinbad the Sailor” and “Waiting for Christmas.”

His drawings and prints have been exhibited both internationally and locally, and his work is part of the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Bulgaria and the Rare Book Collection at Princeton University Library. He also has won many awards, including a 2001 Delaware Division of the Arts Fellowship.

Natchev began his academic career teaching in the Drawing Department of his alma mater in Bulgaria. He has since taught at a number of art schools, colleges and universities in the United States including Savannah College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art and, of course, DCAD.

Addressing those gathered for the event were DCAD President Jean Dahlgren and DCAD illustration graduate and design intern Francisco Madera.

“As an artist and teacher myself, I feel that it is what we do as educators — for our students — that most defines our professional success,” Dahlgren said. “Alexi is admired, respected, looked up to and beloved by the many students he has had over the years. They don’t just appreciate their experiences with him — they cherish how he inspired, instructed, guided and challenged them to develop as a visual creator and to make their best work.

“It is no surprise, then, that illustration is one of our most popular majors here at DCAD.”

Madera agreed, citing his own experience as one of Natchev’s students.

“Alexi’s traditional philosophy of illustration will forever be active in the back of my mind,” he said. “What I learned from him about color, proportions, positioning and other aspects of visual storytelling contribute daily to my success in my professional design work here as well as in other creative jobs outside DCAD.”

During the event, Natchev was presented with a framed proof made from a commemorative plaque that is being installed in DCAD’s printmaking room. It reads: “Delaware College of Art and Design Printmaking Studio, Forever etched by the creativity, dedication and expertise of Alexi Natchev, Illustration Area Coordinator and Printmaking Instructor, 2006-2018.” In addition, Dean Katy Ro is assembling a folio of celebratory wishes and art pieces created by friends, colleagues and students that will be given to Natchev as another memento of the occasion.