ENCHANTING ILLUSTRATOR, ACTIVE PHOTOGRAPHER & DEDICATED ART TEACHER. INTERVIEW WITH CENGIZ BODUR

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1. What is the Creative Community like in Antalya ?

Antalya is basically a tourist city and invariably hot. People come here for the summer but in the winter it is almost empty. As a result it does not have an inspiring local cultural environment whatsoever.

2. How much of an impact has growing up in Turkey made on your current work ?

That's a good question, which has to be carefully considered. Growing up in Turkey was somewhat like being in the fantastic atmosphere of a children’s book. In this book there were wonderful landscapes, storms, magicians and good people as well as monsters! Turkey’s complex political and cultural conditions have been highly influential on my work. Apart from photography and video, if I talk about dealing with my illustration practice in particular, then that is an expression that enables me to escape from the reality of the outer world. Illustration contains numerous colors, which are pure and calm. But the nature I try to reflect in my work, including video and photography, and also my admiration of it, is the most tangible sign of my homeland.

 

Growing up in Turkey was somewhat like being in the fantastic atmosphere of a children’s book. In this book there were wonderful landscapes, storms, magicians and good people as well as monsters! Turkey’s complex political and cultural conditions have been highly influential on my work. "

 

3. You are a multidisciplinary artist. Which artist medium did you start of with ?

I spent my teenage years continuously drawing and, before I enrolled at the fine arts academy, I had already been working with oil colors. I studied painting in the academy. Over time this process started with oils and then turned towards another direction after I became engaged in computers. 

4. Out of photography, video editing and illustration, which do you prefer the most and which one seems to be drawing more attention to you as an artist ? 

For me, each medium contains different aspects that provoke me. Currently I am madly taking photographs! Photography is a relatively easier medium compared to the other ones. That is why video and illustration now seem less dominant. Actually I do not put them in any specific order. Because video is a time-based medium, which often requires a financial budget, it invariably comes after illustration. 

5. What are your major influences? Other artists? Books? Movies? Music? Other Media ?

Of course - all of them! Yet in today’s Internet World it is so tiring to see so many things that are ordinary or similar to one another rather than being exclusive samples. Therefore to behave selectively may be inspirational. Meanwhile, the impact of full-length movies, alongside Vimeo on my work are indisputable.

 

Yet in today’s Internet World it is so tiring to see so many things that are ordinary or similar to one another rather than being exclusive samples. Therefore to behave selectively may be inspirational. "

 

6. In your opinion, what role do artists play in today’s society ?

Each artist adopts their own roles but I think that in our age, where there is no limit for madness, undertaking such missions may sound quite ridiculous.

7. You had a formal Art Education. How important is that for anybody wishing to be an artist? Are there any advantages and disadvantages that you encountered throughout your career with the formal training ?

Klee wanted to forget all about what he learnt previously in order to make art freely. I do not think that there is only one answer to this question. For example, I am able to teach my students a specific technique within ten minutes, yet I can then continue to work on it for months, and sometimes years, on my own. In this sense creativity is another concern. But if a student wants to work in the digital medium, they definitely require an appropriate education.

 

But if a student wants to work in the digital medium, they definitely require an appropriate education. "

 

8. As an Art teacher, what is the best advice you can give to an aspiring Art student ? 

First of all, in order to nourish their creativity they have to follow up closely the current tendencies around the world including biennials, major shows held in museums, some leading art fairs such as Art Basel, Frieze-London, Paris FIAC etc. Self-promotion is of great importance in this sense. Plus, they have to consider seriously the advantages of networking because it gives you the chance to meet professionals and expose yourself to new opportunities. The other thing is portfolio issue. The visual arts are less grade-centric than other disciplines. They should focus on making their portfolio the best they can possibly make it. A good body of work speaks louder than grades. 

Cengiz Bodur

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