Burçin Erdi, Painter, Istanbul

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA„I like to watch movies. Normally I look at them in the night and I draw my inspiration from the moving pictures. Indeed, I like fantasy and science fiction movies.“

Burçin Erdi

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAfter more than 2 years I met Burçin Erdi again in Istanbul. I visited the painter in her studio at the Anatolian side of town. We had a drink together and she told me about her last exhibition in summer in Boston, USA. And that she got married to an Istanbul movie director. She seemed to be very happy. In a few months she is expecting her first child.

I saw her new impressive series of pictures. They are mostly made of dark colours. Burçin got inspired by the recent refugee tragedy which leaves Europe breathless.

„I cannot close my eyes when people are dying. Therefore I painted them. I combine them with Athletics, with sportsmen. I just saw many photos from extreme sportsmen. I looked in their faces and I recognized that they all have the same expression. The same as those from people who are dying in the war or between borders. When people are crossing borders they do have all the same expression in their faces.“KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

And Burçin focuses on those images: Dying faces.

Refering to her dark pictures she shows me one of her recent paintings with a group of people at night, all starring in their smartphones and laptops. „That’s my so called blue light“, she admits.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Further she refers to Caravaggio and to Rembrandt. „They all painted pictures in the shine of a candle. Dark pictures.“

Good Luck, Burçin, on your new series of paintings!



Justin Eccles, designer and painter, Istanbul

P1150104 (Large)Iowa born Justin Eccles is a graphic designer and painter. “I have been interested in both topics for all my life.” For the last nine years he lives in Istanbul. Six years ago he fulfilled his dream and opened his own gallery in Istanbul’s artists‘ quarter Kadiköy.
P1150099 (Large)From the US he came to Turkey with a contract for working in a gallery. As a graphic designer he is specialized in creating book covers. Nowadays he is doing his own art work. Beside that he has interns from all over the world who can work with him and experience the art scene. Justin also teaches art.
P1150114 (Large)P1150116 (Large)“Students can use the experience here for their academic credits back home”, he adds. “Also I do rent space to other artists for exhibitions.” But most he loves to do his own art work.
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Burçin Erdi, Painter, Istanbul

P1150078 (Large)Burçin Erdi invites me to her studio in Istanbul for a cup of tasty Turkish tea. She just came back from Sevilla, Spain, where she studied art for 4 years. I feel her enthusiasm, when she talks: “I travelled a lot, had exhibitions in Sevilla, Lisbon, Rome and Florence.” I am looking at the big canvas in her studio. “I am preparing for my next exhibition in New York City”.

P1150076 (Large)Born in 1977 as a daughter of a cameraman in Munich, Germany she grew up in a family of artists. She got the inspiration to paint already as a child. “Because of my father I was always surrounded by pictures and photos.” In 2006 she graduated with a Master degree from Istanbul University. “First I wanted to become an architect. I did restoration work but after all I felt better with painting. Now I can make a living out of it.” Burçin loves to visit museums and exhibitions. “Soon was clear: That’s my world!”
P1150084 (Large)P1150083 (Large)She gets inspired by many things: women, friends, drinking, eating. A couple of her paintings show people sitting together with food and wine. “This is what I call ‘The last dinner’!” All her exhibitions have topics as “Night tales”, “Conversations”, “Dialogues” or “Perceptions”. “Normally my paintings show movements”, she adds. “You see, there are many graffitis in it.”
P1150091 (Large)P1150090 (Large)P1150088 (Large)Burçin loves street art and the combination of old and new. “I went to Sevilla because there is tradition and this is very important for me.” Due to her research in Spain she got just recently her doctoral degree in art.
P1150092 (Large)Then she talks about her feelings: “When I am painting I am talking with me.” No wonder, the women in her work seem to be like her, just looking very similar.
P1150086 (Large)“They are figures like me”, she admits. In her last series of pictures the women are all sitting, strictly sitting. Maybe this is a sign of her indecision she had in Sevilla. “I wanted to stay in Sevilla as much as I wanted to be back in Istanbul. I just could not decide”, she describes her state of mind then. The longing of being home was finally stronger. But now she knows she has to move on. Next destination: New York City!
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Serhat Koçak, Painter, Istanbul

P1150070 (Large)I meet Serhat in his studio in Kadaköy, a quarter of the Asian part of Istanbul. “I didn’t study art, art is my passion which came in my life long ago”, says the 30 years old artist. He reflects on his life, thinks about the past as well as the future. For 8 years he lived in Australia, where he attended High School and later on University to study Multi Media Design.
P1150059 (Large)He starts reflecting on his art: “I had a great art teacher at High School. She encouraged me to focus my career on art, mainly painting, visiting Art School.” His mother wanted him to study something to make money. So he decided for Multi Media as his major. “But I never stopped painting.” Finally he recognized that he doesn’t want to work for a company. “Painting was all I wished to do. Nowadays I try to make a living out of it, but it is not easy.”
P1150073 (Large)He came back to Istanbul, preferred to live in Turkey than in Australia. “I was meant to be here, so I came back. Turkish people are warmer, more heartful. I don’t feel lonely.”
P1150071 (Large)His last exhibition in Istanbul was titled “Unreal reality”. He painted the emotions he went through und how he experiences the world from today. He talks about his contributions to the Art Monaco and the Biennale at Florence/Italy. “I don’t really care where to exhibit. I just like people to see my work, maybe I can change someone’s life to the better by the influence of my art. And somehow it is always also satisfying my ego.”
P1150064 (Large)I asked him whether he likes to show his experiences through teaching. “I would like to exchange ideas but I don’t see myself at the moment in doing any teaching”, Serhat responds. “In my life I experience different periods and I paint them. I don’t think paintings should be explained. What I want you to understand is to loose yourself and feel. This is about the main thing of a painting I am creating. It should give you feelings and emotions, it should connect you with some points of your life.”
P1150074 (Large)He is consequent in his way of life, at the same time modest, concerned about nature and environment. He mentions that he was winning the 3. prize of famous Saatchi Gallery, London in submitting a piece of his art.
He is dedicated, he is strict in following his way. “I was always painting. Art became my life. It was and is always in my mind. And I will keep on.”


Vivian Huizenga, Painter, Istanbul

P1150168 (Large)Vivian Huizenga is a native of Grand Rapids, MI., USA. She moved to Canada at 18 and has been working in Istanbul for the last 7 years. Vivian has been painting sporadically since her first painting in elementary school. Within a few years she won several honorable mentions in citywide adult competitions as a 15 and 16 year old. Although encouraged to attend art school, she rejected any external influence in her artistic pursuits, choosing instead to express on her own terms.
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Vivian sold her textile works to the Charlottetown Cultural Arts Center and paintings to Prince Edward Island University, Canada in 1975. The Center often asked for more works but a busy life with 3 small children restricted her productions. Vivian taught in the Artists in Residence Program in PEI public schools in 1982 to 1983.
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In 1992 to 1997 Vivian worked as a portrait artist on the streets of Paris, France, gaining popularity and recognition, she was chosen for group commissions on Montmartre. She also worked in Florence, Italy and was respected for her style of capturing people without any formal training. Vivian sold works to local restaurants, individuals and has painted on commission for the last 35 years.
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Vivian’s love for old Istanbul, to capture its history, layers, from old Byzantine ruins, underground palaces, aqueducts, city walls to sunken water fountains, Ottoman camel stops and mosques of the Middle Ages, to once stately 17th century bay windows, arched doors, now crumbling and vacant, wooden houses crooked and peering sadly down narrow cobble streets, drooping in flowering vines, ripe fallen mulberries. Screeching of swifts in a night sky with wafting smoke of water pipe coal fires against haunting music of a bygone age. Peoples, age, time, lives, dwellings; an interface of existence.

Vivian at her art opening in Istanbul in June 2013.

Vivian at her art opening in Istanbul in June 2013.