Pillow Talk, acrylic on linen, 50 x 50 cm, 2011
What are you working on in your studio right now?
Right now I am hoping to finish some small paintings I'd tried but failed to have ready for my show that's up now in Chicago at 65Grand. I have several others I've just started that are in the 150 cm range.
Can you describe your working routine?
I teach in the evenings, so I work in my studio in the daytime and on weekends. I usually start out in the morning with a coffee while I look at what I have going on, often catching up with news on Democracy Now. After about 30 minutes to an hour I start mixing paint and moving things around. A lot of the time I put several containers of paint right next to all the paintings in the room to help me further visualize or remember what I imagine. Once in a while it requires a note or two to myself. I also like to group different paintings together and sort of overlap them so I can imagine what they would be like if they were merged or if certain parts were taken out.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
Now my studio is in a district of Istanbul where not very old furniture is renovated, mostly in a Baroque style. It's furniture that we would throw away in the States, but here they work miracles! The materials are both horribly cheap or shoddy and very fancy. These unlikely combinations form what I have begun to see as sculptures in progress. The effects created are very inspiring to me, as are the the dialogues they have with their public settings, on marble platforms, strange stairways and at the bus stop in front of my studio.
Winter studio view
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc
With my paintings, I start with one color and intuitively disperse it onto the canvas or linen. These initial pigment accumulations are all different and usually very exciting to me, so I have started making laser jet print installation pieces out of photographs of them. But after I have shot them, the process become more complicated, resulting in a finished painting that sometimes has been through many lives.
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
Small paintings. They are not so fun as big paintings, in the bodily sense, and making them requires a different kind of psychological projection.
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I really enjoy working in all different media. I have done some photography, installation and video and would love to do more. Sometimes I feel so excited about all the possibilities that I think maybe I won't paint anymore and I often dream of sculptures I want to make! There are also the print pieces I've mentioned. They are really fun and much more mobile in terms of traveling and being displayed than the more physical items I make, but painting is a total addiction for me. Nothing satisfies me the way painting does.
Roxelana, acrylic on linen, 150 x 150 cm2011
What does the future hold for this work?
I can't say what I will be doing next year other than painting. I really hope to keep having opportunities for making new kinds of things and sharing them with different audiences.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I hope more artists from all over will move to Istanbul. The cost of living here is cheap and it's easy to find a great workspace. The art scene here seems to get larger and more varied by the minute!