Rado Kirov was born in Bulgaria in 1955. He developed an interest in metal art at an early age when he was first exposed to the wonder of the Panagyursko Treasure, an exquisitely hand crafted collection of golden artefacts dating back to the 3rd century BC.
Rado began an extensive apprenticeship in copper smithing at the age of 25 in the town of Dobrich Bulgaria under the tutelage of Alexander Raev, one of the greatest craftsmen in Bulgaria at the time. He honed his artistic skills with copper over the next 10 years until immigrating with his family to South Africa in 1991. Rado continues to be a member of the Bulgarian Association of Craftsmen – Section: Copper Smithing.
Rado’s passion and skill in copper, shifted to silver and gold during his years of employment with the Pagliari Group in Cape Town. During this time, Rado had the privilege of hand crafting numerous prestigious pieces, including a silver Chalice presented to the late Pope John Paul II by former President Nelson Mandela on behalf of the South African Government in 1998, a silver Rose Bowl presented as a wedding gift to the Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife by the SA Government, and the Alfred Dunhill Challenge Cup Trophy for golf. Rado was also responsible for the creative design and fabrication of unique collectors’ coins in 1000g pure silver and 1000g 24 carat gold.
Rado’s talent received the ultimate recognition by the SA Government when he was commissioned to craft the new parliamentary People’s Mace and the Black Rod mace of the South African Parliament using 18 carat gold.
In 2006, drawing on the inspiration of the Panagyursko Treasure, Rado created the Rhino Rhyton, a traditional wine vessel in the shape of a rhinoceros, hand crafted using 1250 g of 22 carat gold. This was a tremendous personal achievement for Rado and an absolute validation of his craftsmanship.
Over the last 15 years, Rado gradually shifted his creative focus to product design and functional art working extensively with interior designers and architects.
Searching for a new creative outlet and complete freedom of expression, Rado embarked on a new artistic venture at the beginning of 2012 drawing on his extensive knowledge of silver smithing and years of experience in working with various different metals. Rado developed a unique technique of manipulating a sheet of stainless steel by hand, using the inherent physical properties of the metal to create a striking three-dimensional surface that dynamically mirrors its surroundings and draws the observer into the magic of its reflection. Rado’s new-found passion for sculpture and his mastery of stainless steel are expressed in this new medium, which he has called the Mercury Effect.
As an artist, I believe that one’s creative pursuits are a mirror for one’s understanding and perception of life; it is my unwaveringly optimistic, positive outlook on life that I endeavour to express through my art. My mirror-polished stainless steel artworks reflect, whimsically and playfully, everything in their surroundings transforming even the ugliest surroundings into a beautiful vision. The message that I am trying to put across through my art is directed to those to whom it speaks, almost intuitively. It can be encompassed in a single word – the most important one on earth – Life.