Wessi Benderlieva Karl Hofer was born in 1971 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has been drawing and painting since her early childhood. Early on Wessi endured periods of stagnation and political restrictions in the then Communist Bulgaria. She studied at the prestigious Sofia School of Fine Arts. But her greatest lesson that she learnt, in her own words was, “That there are things that no one can take from us. My thoughts and images that I carry with me are indestructible.” Only through art, she was able to express things that are not possible in thought or words.
In 1991 she graduated from the Sofia School of Fine Arts, with her thesis work, “The Tower of Bable” awarded first prize. This series took Wessi to Vienna, where she immediate admittance to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Wessi won the first prize in the “Lenzing AG”, and an award in the “Datentechnik” Competition, Vienna, in 1992.
She then won a scholarship at the Montclair State University in New Jersey in 1993, where she got the chance to discover a new world. She also worked at the “National Academy of Art and Design,” New York City. Wessi later learned the painting restoration in the master classes for restoration and conservation at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. She became a member of the International Group for Realism.
In 1996 she graduated with honors for painting and graphics from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. In the following year, she was invited to exhibit at the H.R. Giger Museum in Switzerland.
Wessi lives and works in Vienna with her family. Her artworks are included in many private collections.