Iliya Zhelev was born in Plovdiv in 1961. He graduated from the “St. Cyril and St. Methodius” University in Veliko Tarnovo in 1987 with a major in painting. Iliya has over 90 solo exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad – in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, Luxembourg, France, Italy. Since 1994 his works can be seen and purchased at the Pranerstrasse Gallery in Munich. Since 2006 the prestigious German chain of galleries “Mensing” presents Iliya Zhelev annually in its exhibition halls in the largest German cities Berlin, Hannover, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Baden Baden and others. Zhelev's paintings are owned by the National City Art Gallery Sofia, many galleries and private owners in Bulgaria, as well as collections in Germany, USA, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, UAE, England, Austria, Greece, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Russia, Spain, New Zealand and Israel. Iliya Zhelev has three solo exhibitions at Largo Art Gallery (2008), (2013) and “I love NY” (2019). He lives and works in Plovdiv.