Krasi Valkanov was born in October 1949. In 1975 he received his MFA in Set Design from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, under the direction of Prof. Asen Stoichev. His thesis (later published) was on “scenic design in motion”. In 1977 he received a second MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, under Jozef Szajna. His thesis centered on how scenic design partners with the actor in the stage action. From 1987-88 Valkanov specialized in set design at La Cambre, the renowned school for visual arts and architecture, in Brussels, Belgium, under the mentorship of Serge Creuz. His work explored the parallels between the approach to set design (and its realization) in the Slavic countries and the Francophone world using the plays of Michel de Ghelderode. The work received a letter of recognition for outstanding achievement from the school.
In 1980, Valkanov was hired as an Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at the Bulgarian National Academy of Arts. At the same time, he also taught visual art to undergraduates. In 1989, he was appointed docent (his dissertation was titled Theatricality in the Fine Arts between 1964-75—a comparison between Europe and the US) while continuing to teach set design at the Academy. In 2000, he was appointed a full professor, his research focusing on set design for alternative spaces. That same year he inaugurated a special MFA program exploring 3D modeling and animation—an innovative program uniting computer technology and the stage and screen arts. His designs have been recognized at the Prague Biennale, and in Warsaw, Tokyo, Moscow, and Novi Sad. His productions have been seen at numerous international festivals, including Paris (1993), Vienna (1993), Apollonia Sozopol (1994), and Bogota (1996), amongst many others.
Valkanov has been honored with eight national awards for set design (1979, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, and 20002), three national awards for costume design (1993, 1998, and 2000), and two international awards for set design (1981 and 1990). He has created over 69 set designs and 58 costume designs in the theatre, film, and opera.