- You are a companion of a generation that experiences the biggest cliffs in terms of technological improvements. You were born in 1963; (thus) you were 5 years old when the first television broadcast took place in Turkey. You were able to watch the very first colored TV broadcast in 1976. Personal computers, cellular phones, mobile devices and just then we arrived to the year 2008. What do you think when you compare the past -which had a weak sense of technology- with the present that has a wide effect of our lives today.Do you miss those days when you feel the difference between human relations back then and now?
We live in an era that is imposed that time is insufficiant and everything moves on so fast. I think this "we must be fast" feeling dazes everybody.There are things that technogolgy gives in and things that technology takes away. Balancing this is in our own hands. The speed of communication is increased but i doubt that correct communication is established. In the name of being fast, the speed of the mechanism of intelligence and mind, and the balance between mind and thinking correctly is corrupted against the beauty and the truth...Yes, i was born in the magical days of radio (my best compliments to Woody Allen); i grew up with television (fortunately it has never been an invention that i was interested in), we were a generation fed on books and we used to shine our souls with music and art.
I was born in Kırcaali, Bulgaria. Without knowing a single word in bulgarian, i started my education at a Bulgarian school. I learned this language by burying myself into the books and i began to pursue international children's literature.I first noticed "illustration" back then those years. By the time i was 9 years old, from my eyes, illustration had already penetrated in my soul. We immigrated to Turkey with my family in 1992. I told my father that i had decided to become an artist.I could feel the difference between a drawing and an illustration but i couldn't put into words back then... as if it wasn't enough, i started to pay attention to other points of the books that had the best typography and emblems.I began to be interested in issues such as graphic design, printing and how it works. Besides, i started to read cartoon magazines and began to draw cartoons. At the age of 13, i found myself at Gırgır Magazine in front of Oğuz Aral. By the time i was 17, when i started to draw professionally for Gırgır Magazine, i was roaming among the paper spools and the rotary press. I still cannot forget the smell of the paint.
- For years; your works took place at humor magazines such as Gırgır, Limon, Hıbır, Leman. At the point we arrived today, our country suffers the most in humor and caricature publications just like in the other issues. The Prime Minister is furious about the caricatures that critize him, he sues the cartoonists for a great amount of money, some groups of people threatens the magazines who publish such cartoons...
To create a magazine also brings social responsibility and that's why i've always been interested in it. A kind of an effort to increase the social quality. However, for sure, there must a delicate elegance while doing it. In the period of time when the total circulation of Gırgır Magazine reached to 500 thousand, each of an issue was being read by at least 6 people. ıt was a great deal of burden on my shoulders and the 12 September coup d'état had just arrived. The first serious critique to the period of coup d'état came from humorists. I stood trial for insulting Turgut Özal. Yet, it was a political criticism. I couldn't get passport for 3 to 4 years. My purpose was to visit museums abroad. We turned towards intelligently made indirect expressions. Turgut Özal was begging for money from IMF with showing the caricatures we had drawn. While i was desiring to becoma a cartoonist, i found myself as a magazine person. If the Prime Minister has no sense of humor, the society evolves into an oppressive structure. Even back then, in the period of 12 September coup d'état, journalists and cartoonists hadan't been sued as much of today.
I believe that the monopolization of the media ended the independency of the humor magazines. Current magazines are skipping something, they have become marginal publications of the sub-culture groups. To sum up; " It is hard to live in a place that has no humor, however it is impossible to live in a place that everything's a humor." Bertold Brecht.
- How do you evaluate the situation that your country and the world are in? What kind of a future do you predict for the next generations?
Actually, i'm an unhealable optimist but global warming, energy problems, consumerism as if it is referred to modernity, the global sharing fights that are shown as ideological and religious discrimination make me feel bad, for sure. In such a period of time that means of communication has improved widely, too much information and the density of images also became the biggest obstacle for us to create a conscious. I think this is the biggest paradox of our era, while it's getting faster to reach information, multiplicity of information is not helping us to form a conscious. Amazing things are done in this world but when we look at the things happenning in the background, when we see the whole picture, we ruin the world. This is a determination, if there's anyone who sees this as pessimism, i'm sorry but this is the situation.
- How often do you use computer in your illustration work? Do you agree that the technological improvements that creates the digital art mentality hits the originality and the sincerity of the illustration art?
I have passed through digital environment since 1993. Being able to use conventional technics is an advantage to capture the same tastes in digital environments. Opportunities such as, layers, spot channels and path were just a dream before but today they are the ordinary truths of our daily lives. Even a copying machine is an answer with Neville Brody, to "how to use it in art in a adverse and rightful way". I believe that freedom and sincerity begin and end in our minds; of course the tools still have great importance but the thing that determines the context and makes the choices is still the person. An illustrator friend of mine draws children books from Turkey for a publishing house in USA via british illustration agency. All of this process is being held in couple of months thanks to discoveries such as mail and Skype. Nowadays, most of the members on my site is from Malasia. I think a magazine and a blog introduced my site. This is the part that amazes me everytime even though i use internet very often.
Since the collage aesthetic is put in a place art history by dadaists and surrealists, it reached the top level of the collage aesthetic and manipulation sensitivity with the help of desktop publishing technology and the improvements of programs. It became easier to use it in creating different results by arranging different forms on different bases instead of attaching importance to the creation of the form. Now then, the boundaries among different ideas, styles,techniques and personalities are transferred to eachother and become indistinct.
I always start my illustrations by drawing sketches with a pencil and a paper... (it has always been this way and it will always be this way.) Among those sketches, i finalise the one which is approved and scan it through digital environment. According to the purpose, i do coloring with appropriate program and style such as using Adobe Photoshop, Painter or Freehand. The works that I had done with watercolor, gouache, acrylic and air brush 10-12 years ago, I make them with Wacom tablet in digital environment today. Having experience and knowledge in such tools and techniques made easier for me to find the same tastes and styles in digital environment. At first in early 90s, I was disappointed by the low capacity of computers and the softwares that could not meet the needs of the customers. Those years, million colors were just a dream. However today, they exactly meet all my needs. A Mac with 2.5 GHz G5 dual processor, a wacom tablet are standing next to my conventional tools. Internet changed my life completely. My website stands as my portfolio in a distance that everyone can reach. Sketches come via mail and go via mail. In fact, now then more time is left for myself. I can follow the illustion works in the world closer and it is easier to follow new tendencies and my favorite illustrators. Nowadays, i've been searching for new techniques in vectoral illustrations and I design characters for 3d animations. The problem I had to dealt with Corel Painter because of its interface is solved now ( the ones who use Adobe Photoshop densely would know it, Painter stood as if it's for left-handed people, as if it was created for some other operating system; almost more complicated than Maya's organic menu system ) and now I'm able to have the more warm peinture atmosphere. The 3d programmes and the its artists have developped considerably. Now then we can form a product even in the production test process and we can present it to the client with label applications on it with QuickTime VR. The transparency between the disciplines reach at a point that staying distant to it or resisting it causes you look conservative and unprogressive.
- Could you talk about your work environment please? What are the things that are always on your desk?
My acrobat lamp, my brush (Bruch Pen), pencils, papers and my computer. Plus, I always work with music at the background.
- What can't you put up with in your room?
Anything that comes between my pencil and my paper.
- You do the works of the prestigious labels of advertisement agencies in Turkey that has foreign partnerships. Even though it looks like a pleasant job with beneficial working progress, when we dig in the depth of it, it's possible to say that it brings lots of distress along with it. How do you comment on the way advertisement agencies work in Turkey, the attitude of art directors and creative directors and in general the situation that this sector is in? Which of the absences should be filled or which mistakes should be corrected in order to make the sector more powerful and have a word in international arena?
I personally pay attention to the work that is given to me if it's something new and if it contributes something to me instead of considering the company's greatness or smallness. I love to enforce my boundaries. The work I'm doing must make me excited. I'm 45 years old and recently i began to be satisfied with my works. Shortly, the game has just begun.
20 years ago, there were 40-50 illustrators in İstanbul; now 70% of it quitted the job. The sector must question the reason why. To become strong and have a word in international arena, the international norms must be performed in this country. You can not expect same results from someone as if he lives in Paris when he has problems in budget, in working style, inappropriate durations and who works 20 hours per day. We plan to prepare a humour book with our illustrator friends that we used to plan to make an annual with. It is called : " The dialogues with customer representatives that kills."
In Turkey, the way advertisement agencies work, the status of art directors and creative directors are sacrified by the choices of the purchasers and customer representatives. I believe that "Incomplete Manifesto for Growth" by Bruce Mau must be read at least once every night before falling asleep.
- Famous American artist Norman Rockwell says: " Some people show courtesy and call me a painter. I personally define myself as an illustrator, though." Both in Turkey and in the world, it is known that there's an invisible line between a painter and an illustrator. What do you think about that?
This modest answer caused by self-confidence and the love of his job, includes the sense of humor that i've felt in his illustrations. This polite reply that is slightly covered with modesty looks like the explanation that I oftenly have to use.
Illustration is made to create a unity with specially produced typography and a message within in order to transfer information. Illustration provides to be focused on the given information by offering something different than the expected.
- If you had the chance to go back to your youth and form your whole life in a way that you desire, what would you do about the things you have today, or the things you can not have for certain reasons? What kind of changes and adjustments would you do with the issues such as the country you live in, the job you have and the people you met?
I graduated from MÜGSF Graphic Arts Department and I studied illustration as an optional lecture. Talent in drawing is important but not enough. It is also important to dominate in convenient drawing and coloring techniques. The discipline to carry out a project with the institution or the person that makes the design is significant. To put into practise the idea correctly that has already been located depends on your discipline and talents. Lots of illustrator friends I know has come to a deadlock at this point and could not finalize these works, considered this situation as a pressure on their artistic personalities and withdrawn from this field. It needs to lead this process properly.
First of all, in the process of designing, a pattern and an image is needed according to the concept and if it's an illustration that can be an answer to that an illustrator who can work with it in proper style needs to be found and perform this work with him. This is about the personality of the artist. He creates a style by being an expert in a technique that he likes. An art director that needs to work in that style asks for him to do the work if he's the right person to do it. Unfortunately, those kind of professions haven't been formed in Turkey, yet. An illustrator can be asked for any kind of work in any kind of style, here. The reason is still there hasn't been any illustration agencies established in this sector. It would be an option to have different illustrations with different styles in such an agency. For a proper work, it needs to be worked with a proper illustrator. It's impossible and unnecessary for an illustrator to meet the needs of any style of work. I wish I could make such an institute become real. I also have some projects on children books and cartoons. I want to give its due when I have enough time. Currently, I'm designing characters for a 3d cartoon project.
- If you had an unlimited budget just to be able to use in illustration field, what would you like to do? ( For instance; an international profession institution for illustrators, an illustration museum or an illustration school which has a department in each country in the world... etc.)
I would establish an illustration school but it would a post-university kind. Somewhere that Milton Glaser, Brad Holland, Gennadij Spirin or Tadahiro Uesugi could teach in.
- The theme of 13th issue of Bak Magazine is "fear". What does this word symbolise you? What do you imagine ?
Fear is what we don't know, what we can not understand. The best answer is given by Krishnamurti; "Fear pushes us into illusions by covering the truth like a wrap. We accept the non-truth as a truth and the truth as a non-truth. The perception of this twisted truth is called illusion. This illusion always brings division, conflict, violence and war along with it.