1. What types of events/things inspire your desire to make art? At the same time, what prevents you from producing works?
I have been inspired by the novels I read, books on art history, songs that I listen over and over again, visiting international museums and watching realizations of the books I’ve read originally. My passion towards pictures and the love, the loneliness and the dreams I have for my close relatives are what keeps my desire for my work going. When a person I love dies, or political turbulences or seeing homeless people on the street sometimes keep me away and limit me in creating works.
2. If you weren’t doing what you are doing at the moment, what would you want to do? How would you evaluate contemporary art in today’s world?
I would like to be Lucian Freud and having made his masterpiece ‘Painter and Model’ (1986-7). The ignorant aesthtic perception in Turkey is the reason for avoiding real values of art making and accepting any object that seem ‘beautiful’ aesthetically as an contemporary art piece. I am surprised by the crowd who thinks that the similar works that are produced when Dadaist have done this million years ago as ‘different’; which is a result of the intellectual absence. In my opinion, there is the lack of sincerity in painting in Turkish art; therefore, brush strokes of an artist in his work gets lost.
3. What type of manifesto can summarize your approach in life and your creative work?
Painting is how I generate myself, I feel that I am in a place where everything is possible and there is no time constraint, in a way I escape from the world. My painting practice is similar to keeping a diary, is it where I can transfer my feelings and thoughts on. I produce little stories within my paintings and try to add them with a humour to the art history. I like to dive naked into the canvas as well as to the life.
4. How would you describe contemporary art’s structural and intellectual character in today’s society?
My opinion is that, structural qualities have surpassed intellectual qualities. Although it is rare, I am excited when I see works that are both powerful in their content and in their structures. Sometimes, the frame of a work can be stronger the work itself or the work can become a ghost behind the artist’s name.
Works that have a theme around also need their user’s manual to be understood, on the other hand, some works can only have a single message which is made to be understood easily. When the art productions are valued financially, it seems like the least intellectual ones are more favorable than the ones that are full of content.
5. What are your memorable feedbacks from your viewers? Is there any review, criticism that you would like to share with us?
Mostly, the viewers are touched by my works; sometimes they say that I have changed and I tell them I am in a journey. I was quite happy and embarassed when the lady in her 80s screamed to me as “great artist’ and laughed in front of my work during the the exhibition I had in France.
Another interesting memory is with artist Patrick Saytour, who thought my works are not funny at all, nevertheless, he thought they are maket he viewer quite uncomfortable and ‘strong’ for most women. He even advised me after his critisms that I should have a baby. I have overcomed this story when I painted Judith cutting Holopherne’s head off, that head belonged to Saytour.
6. If we were to compare and contrast art inside Turkey and internationally what type of similarities/differences we can find?
How can different cultures can produce different imageries?
I have experienced a more professional and established approach for art events and exhibitions done internationally. With this, there were some strong improvements in Turkey with exhibiting, gallery structure and alternative art spaces. Outside of Turkey, contemporary art is like a movement where in Turkey it is still a bit uncertain.
International art also is defined by financial market value; however, the collectors are much more conscious and educated about what they buy which increases the quality of the art works that are being produced. It is similar when it comes to expectations for an artwork. There is a great support and funding coming from governments internationally, which does not exist in Turkey. I am gratefull that at least there are art galleries.