Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
A: I was born in 1977, in Şanlıurfa. There were no artists in our family but lots of craftsmen. Even those who weren’t craftsmen were good with tools. I grew up surrounded with technical abundance. Following the tradition, I became an apprentice before I went to school, like my cousins. My master was my grandfather, a copper artisan. Our shop was one of those with a dome-shaped ceiling, surrounded with others like beads on a string. From each one emerged and echoed the rhythmic sounds of hammers and anvils, creating an acoustical melody. It was a bazaar where various household items were formed. Pots, pans and dishes. You have to hammer the right spot, or you’ll never get the correct form. Elementary school was finished. With middle school, I also graduated from my uncle’s machining shop. It was a small atelier, producing machine parts of various shapes. Now machines were involved and the sounds had changed. I had experienced the industrial revolution, unaware of the Industrial Revolution. In 1990, we moved to İzmir with my family. At the 4th year of a messy and jammed high school program, I was below average and the committee graduated me from sports, unable to fit me anywhere else. As a guinea pig, I was the glitch in the system. They teach in elementary and middle school, but you learn in higher education. In 2003, I was accepted to the Sculpture program of Anadolu University, Faculty of Fine Arts. I graduated in 2010 and continue working on my art.
D: I was born in 1979, in Denizli. I graduated from Anadolu University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Sculpture in 2008. I continue working in my own studio.
What are your thoughts on the importance given to sculpture art in Turkey?
A: I try to follow global examples through a number of channels, even though I cannot go and visit them in place. Around the world art has been interrupted by those who had the money; and in Turkey, by the governments. Just like Turkey has been left behind, art is forced to stall slowly. Each term, the government in charge makes sure that they are in advantage over art.
In spite of all this, many artists from different areas of art are trying to be the crutches to the broken legs of art again and again. No matter how vandal the governments are, artists are always hopeful and productive.
D: I believe the importance given to plastic arts in Turkey is increasing, including sculpture.
Ahmet: In your exhibition in April, “Hatçe Harikalar Diyarında”, you handled the concept of dowery with a different language and story. Could you tell us a bit about the process?
A: My whole exhibition was on dowery. Today, from Edirne in Anatolia to Ardahan, all districts still keep this tradition going with a few differences. I viewed this subject through Şanlıurfa of Southeastern Anatolia, where I was born. The first piece was completed in 2010. I wanted to dig in the society’s entrenched codes. In this dowery concept, I chose to use stones as my main material. It creates a beautiful contrast with the softness of pillows, duvets and mattresses and adds to the hardness of the subject.
Derya: You portray girls holding balloons in your sculptures. How were these characters born?
D: I first came up with the figures holding balloons in 2010, following a breaking point in my own life, as an idea involving thought bubbles. Then these figures in the thought bubbles expressed themselves by flying against gravity with these balloons. I caught lightness both technically and conceptually by creating a contrast between the coldness and weight of the metal and the colorful and light world of balloons. Creating an illusion for the viewer with the balloons, I also took my figures’ feet off the ground.
How do you use your time? Can you always work with the same motivation and discipline?
A: This is variable and hard for me. When I’m motivated I become extremely stressed, but my work benefits.
D: I never lost my motivation, enthusiasm nor my discipline, including the times when I was preparing for school.
Do you collaborate on projects?
D: Absolutely! I’m practical and fast, whereas Ahmet is meticulous and a perfectionist. On collaborative projects we form the Voltran!
How emotionally connected are you with your work? Are there any pieces you were sad to part or ones that you refuse to sell?
A: Frankly, I wouldn’t want to sell any of my sculptures. But to be able to make more sculptures, this is beyond compulsory. Also, one has the survival instinct.
D: Rather than keeping my work to myself, it’s more important for me to know that they are living and breathing at their new homes.
Should social concerns be on an artist’s mind when creating?
A: I don’t think an artist segregates concerns. S/he’s always concerned.
D: Social concerns are always a breath down our necks.
Any plans regarding the future?
A: No spoon, no plan.
D: Plans are variable. My plans and dreams scale up or down depending on opportunities.
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