130 x 130 cm 2000-2010

My story

Painting was my most favourite interest in my early childhood and my grandfather, an architect, was a part of it. He was reading me stories, then I was painting the scenes which I have imagined using watercolour. Afterwards we were discussing about its composition and colours. Sometimes, some of them were waiting for me, framed and hung on the walls of my grandparent’s living room. Those surprises were encouraging me to paint more and more and better.

When I was six years old, my paintings were at a collective exhibition at the gallery of Turkish American Association. After that famous Turkish artist Abidin Elderoglu invited me to his studio where I have first met with oil colour. There was a blank canvas in front of the window with paints and brushes nearby. He taught me how hold the brush, how to use mediums for the viscosity of the paint and told me to paint “what I see”. I did, and he invited me again. Next time when I went, the blank canvas was in front of a blank wall and he told me to paint “what I want”. There was a fire at our street a few days ago, a house was burning and flames were sparkling in the dark. I was scared but also very much affected by the motion of colours. That was what I did, I tried to paint the flames moving and scattering around. Not a burning house, just the flames and sparkling light in the dark. When I finished my painting, he asked and I explained. He sat to his chair, watched the painting a while and said: “Throughout your life, when you are painting, don’t listen who says what, listen your heart and do whatever you want.” and I did.

Later on, my grandfather introduced me with my best model, my hand, which I could draw in various positions and explained me how human body represents the proportion and balance in nature. We were talking for hours on end about dimensions, perspective, symmetry and the golden ratio, using his books on paintings of old masters, design and architecture. When I was a teenager I lost him and I have learned that painting is not only the joy of my happiness but also an indispensable relief of my pain.

I have continued to paint. During high school years, I have selected art as my branch. As a result, I drew an enormous amount of plaster casts of antique sculptures and practised various painting techniques but I always turned back to oil colour. It attracted me more, especially for the transition between colours and transparency effects.

Afterwards, for my university education I wanted to follow the footsteps of my grandfather and entered Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Architecture and graduated from City and Regional Planning Department. A city is something alive, the place where life keeps going on and being handed from generation to generation with evolution. A city planner has to gain analytic skills; learn to design spaces for all needs of a community with aesthetic concerns, regarding their mutual relationships, considering social, historical, environmental and economical aspects.

During my education and after establishing my own planning office, I continued my training in painting and worked with several famous painters, who revealed that my first and the most important master was my grandfather. I had practised city planning in various parts of Anatolia, where historical heritage dates back to the Palaeolithic ages, homeland of human civilization and cradle of numerous cultures for more than a decade. Designing and deciding the future of the cities I had always been in touch with various cultures, their art and history. With these encounters, I have realized that fulfilling my soul is more important than the material world. Being a divorced, single mother I asked permission from my children to close up my well working, prestigious planning office and return to my true passion, painting. My son and my daughter supported.

Then one day my way crossed with marbling, which is a complicated process and it is not known that where, how and by whom it was discovered.  When I looked back upon this nearly forgotten ancient art of painting I wanted to give a contemporary interpretation to our children as their heritage. In my opinion, marbling is a magical technique which is underestimated as a craft by narrow minded people.  I can paint on the surface of the water, put lots of colours side by side, crisp and bright, full of movement. Working on the water is like working in space, it is a substance of diverse sensitivity and when it combines with colours, it jolts your imagination; allows emotional intensity for the artist during the creation phase and later for the viewer. I have spent much of the last twenty years, researching and developing this technique with modern materials of our era and brought it to canvas. My aim is to take this world heritage out of its “craft etiquette��� and show its artistic potential giving it a well deserved new soul.

Marbling resembles me the life on earth. When I am sprinkling the colour drops on water, I think about the generations passed by or will come. The sizes and the colours of the droplets have a wide variety. Elder ones step aside with the presence of newcomers. All remain united but none loose identity, neither destroy nor ignore each other. They always create unique compositions due to their forms and densities. I ask myself: As human beings why we cannot live in a world like this?

Then I continue the detailed construction with my oil coloured brush, thinking about the cycles in nature, how the living and non-living things within the ecosystem interact with each other to renew itself. I ask myself: As ‘developed’ societies, do we have the ability to interact within ourselves for our collective benefits; and as the current occupants, are we keen enough to keep our natural sources like this?

I keep painting, thinking about the development criteria of our era, which we define only by economic terms like “gross domestic product”, “income per capita”, “level of industrialization”, etc. There is also a “human development index” mostly depending on economic standards of living and education. I know education is essential for the development of humanity but again I ask myself: Are we teaching our children how they will follow their instincts to establish their own personality, or are we training them to be workhorses of economy?

I remember a quote from the great scientist Albert Einstein, who said “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

If art is a universal language and have risen with the civilizations throughout our history, today I hold my brush and scream with my canvas to everybody: “Wake up, break your vicious circle and create your own destiny, we are loosing humanity!�����

ITIR ORCUN