Some might say Ivan is a modern-day renaissance man—with a penchant for the arts, language, cuisine, and travel. While he juggles many passions, painting is the art form of greatest interest to him. “I’m evolving and learning by trial and error,” he explains. Asked about his influences, he admits he becomes obsessed regularly by different artists, with his current obsession being Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter who was a pioneer of 20th century abstract art.
Ivan claims to be a self-taught artist with no formal training. “I use acrylics and I play with shapes and colour, and light.” He may be overly modest when he says that none of his art is good enough to display in his own house. “But I give my paintings away to others and they actually hang them on their walls!”
“I experiment with food a lot,” notes Ivan. I love seafood and anything with fresh ingredients, olive oil and herbs.” He takes chances with new dishes, trying not to stick with the same things over and over. His previous culinary adventures have included street food in Bangkok and in Mexico City, which he quite enjoyed. “One of my best meals ever was an eggplant meal that I bought for one euro in Palermo, served in a little plastic thing.” He also likes planning meals and cooking for people. Asked what he’d prepare in a more formal setting—say a dinner party—Ivan would opt to roast something. “My family and friends like roasted beef or lamb and vegetables.”
Talk and Travel
International travel must be a lot easier when you’re fluent in four languages—Spanish, French, Bulgarian and English. “It’s actually four and a half, says Ivan. “I used to be fluent in Russian, but I stopped practicing it.” While abroad, Ivan enjoys taking in foreign places as an observer. “I like going for a coffee on the square and just absorbing the atmosphere, or sitting and reading the local news, or browsing in stores for food and wine.” To Ivan, Airbnb is the best way to travel, providing the local experience most hotels cannot replicate.
In earlier days, Ivan’s travels had a more adventurous bent, though not in a risk-taking way. “I would cycle across Cuba, Portugal and Spain. Biking, backpacking, and hiking were my means of travel then, but now that I’m a parent, I avoid that sort of thing in foreign countries.” One of his most memorable hikes was the Camino de Santiago, a 1,000 km trek across northern Spain that took 34 days to complete. “It was a wonderful experience, and I met some great friends along the way. As the expression goes, it’s the journey not the destination.”
Books and Flicks
“I read a lot and collect books, which drives my family crazy.” Ivan estimates that he collected two-to-three thousand books over the years but periodically purges his collection during moves or to make more room.” If stranded with only one book, he’d choose something substantial, like East of Eden, by Steinbeck. In terms of streaming and viewing, Ivan doesn’t pretend to be discerning, opting for what he calls “trash TV.” I guess even the most cultured need a mental break from time to time.
Farber Feels Like Forever
After only few months at the firm, Ivan already feels as though his Farber experience has been forever—but in a good way, he clarifies. “I would say my time at Farber has been exhilarating,” he says. “Everyone is incredibly supportive and inclusive, and I’ve never felt so welcome in an organization. I’m mesmerized at how interested people are in other people’s ideas and perspectives.”
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