Sketching the Friday Market

For my residency project, I was interested in dealing with man’s relationship to food and nature.  I believe this is a sacred relationship, one that is increasingly disrespected as the modern world becomes more disconnected from the land. I have always been concerned with humanity’s relationship to food, and after my previous travels in rural and urban Turkey, I became particularly interested in open markets, food displays and Turkey’s agricultural system. The artist in residence program at Babayan seemed to be the perfect opportunity to explore this idea, allow it to develop, and possibly take it in new directions.

After spending a few days getting familiar with ibrahimpaşa, and reflecting more on my concept, I decided the best place to get started was with the small village market, open in ibrahimpaşa square every Friday.  It was a wonderful experience sit on my little stool, use a box crate as a table for my paper and watercolors, watch interactions between the villagers as they came and went, buying their weekly supply of produce.  And of course…I was always offered a çay and a small handful of fruit while I worked.

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“Friday Market” Ink on Paper, 2013

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Getting Acquainted

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“Neighborhood Scene 1” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

My first sustained drawing out on the streets of İbrahimpaşa…getting acquainted with my surroundings. There is no better way to do it than to visit the same place for several days, sit in the shade against the houses, watch the tractors drive by, practice my Turkish with locals, and fulfill that uncontrollable desire to capture not only what I see, but everything I feel at that moment.  IMG_0737 IMG_0739 IMG_0740

Arriving in Babayan

It had almost been 2 years since my last visit to Kapadokya.  I have visited this surreal and almost lunar area of Turkey on 3 previous occassions.  Each time as a tourist, but always returning with a wider knowlege and understanding of Turkish culture and language.  A tourist experiences the superficial, and even though the desire to see more may be there, it is tough to break down the barrier that exists between visiter and place.  There is something about Turkey that is deeply rooted within me, I have known it since my first encounter with the country in 2008.  I have returned again and again, and even when I am away, aspects from my life and experiences here emerge in my artwork.  I am eager to break down the barrier that exists between Turkey and myself.  I no longer want the superficial experience, but long to grow, understand and connect.

So, after living in Istanbul for a year, and returning to the US for another year, I found myself longing to be back in the only other country that has felt like home to me.  I applied, and was accepted into my first artist in residence program at the Babyan Culture House in İbrahimpaşa, Kapadokya.

After spending a week back in the dizzying spell of Istanbul, I made my way inland, to the heart of Anatolia.  Arriving late at night, I stepped off the bus into rural Turkey, real Turkey. A group of men at the Kahve Hane cliked their çay glasses and stared while I paid the driver and inquired where to find the residency.  I am never left disappointed when it comes to Turkish hospitality.  For it only took a few questions in my shaky Turkish, and a few looks of feeling lost and bewildered before I was helped with my oversized bag of art materials down the steep cobblestone road to my new home for the following 6 weeks.

There is no greater sleep after travel than sleep in a cave, and no greater feeling than waking up with the clarity of a quiet country.  My first day was overwhelmed with beauty, and the endless opportunities of the village, just beckoning my to draw.

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“The First Day” Ink and Watercolor on Paper

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Buyuk Valide Han Revisited

I believe I wrote a long post in the past about drawing at Buyuk Valide Han, so I will skip the details on the history of this place, but I couldn’t help sharing some photos from my last visit here.  It is a great place to explore if you like peaking into what was once a Byzantine chapel and finding a workshop filled with nargiles and oil lamps.

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“Suleymaniye Camii” Mixed Media on Paper

During my last stay in Istanbul, I climbed onto the roof of the Han and did a 4 hour drawing in the sun.  I love this spot because the view can be drawn a million times and never gets old.  It’s wonderful to watch the ferries in Golden Horn, while listening to the grinding from the workshops below, and talking to the ocasional tourist who comes up to enjoy the view.  When my drawing was done, I wandered my usual way back through the Spice Bazaar and across the bridge to Karaköy and then to Beyoğlu.  I had a wicked sunburn, but a good drawing, and an appetite for a summer of art making…
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The Exhibition

Almost two years of work, many long studio nights, and a few tears resulted in my first solo exhibition at the Corridor Gallery.  It is was an incredible feeling to see everything from my sketchbook pages to my large studio paintings occupying one space and cumulating in a statement about my life in Istanbul.  I’m happy for the opportunity to share this part of my life with the world, in the way that I know best.  Thank you friends and family for the support and encouragement!  You can read a review of the show, as well as a few controversial comments (but what’s art without a little controversy) here, please enjoy!

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