Let’s start by talking about your artistic journey. You graduated from Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Sculpture in 2015. What inspired you to become an artist and how did you start making art?
Maybe unconsciously, maybe consciously, I have been interested in art in some way since my childhood. I was introduced to the existence of plastic arts in high school and prepared to become a sculpture student. The materials I worked with in my undergraduate education did not make me feel like myself. Actually, when I look back today, I guess I didn’t have a problem with mediums, I just couldn’t explain my problem. I ignored my successful education to become an editor in the game industry. Thanks to this new path I chose, I slowly prepared my comeback by watching my favorite works in dozens of countries and making anonymous works on the street. The final point was the bust of Nefertiti in Berlin. The bust, which I had studied dozens of times before, made me realize my longing for sculpture. I returned to Istanbul, resigned, and prepared for my graduation project. During this process, I continued to travel thanks to my old job. I used to imagine the works I would make during these trips on the street rather than in museums, and I started with this motivation.
How does your local culture and environment influence your artistic work? Do the materials and techniques you use in your art find an echo in this interaction network?
I am a person who feeds a lot from his experiences, his past and his surroundings. Sometimes I start an action just to make a piece of scribble. I move back and forth between very classical and primitive techniques, and in my digital productions I don’t get involved in any process that I can’t do by hand. I think I am more influenced by the primitive period than the future.
During and after university life, you produce works such as sculpture, ceramics, digital art, and decor. You work on the streets with anonymous sticker and paste-up experiments. Can you tell us about what draws you to the streets?
Feeling uncomfortable with the stone and bronze I worked with after graduation, my productions that I thought were no more than studies, and life that was not going my way led me to decor works that were intense and did not require much mind. In this process, it was not easy for me to spare time for my own production, I closed myself off and worked to simplify my line. When I found the “side teeth” that I currently embrace as my signature and felt my style was sufficient, I thought that they would be quite suitable for the street. I thought that I could see myself as an artist who is also active on the street, and thanks to me, the street seems to have accepted me.
I would like to talk about the sculptures we saw at Mamut Limited. Bodies and unusual limbs, which we cannot call amorphous, but it is also difficult to identify, are dressed in vivid colors… What is the story behind these sculptures?
Since I started producing as MRE, my goal has always been three dimensions. Everything I drew always had a front and back somewhere, and when I felt ready, I can say that I returned to my original discipline. Three dimensions was always calling me, I ignored it, but in the end it won. Actually, I don’t do anything different in sculpture than I do on canvas or on the wall, they all serve the same purpose for me. The issue of color is a bit unacceptable in sculpture, so I embraced the colors. I use it to break the heavy and elite perception of sculpture.
What does the playful and whimsical feel of your work mean to you? Or how do you define it?
The stories the figures tell are usually harsh and real. I try to make this story how I will tell it to someone later. I have to believe in the sincerity of the work first. I make fun of him/her a little bit and the bond between us ends, now those stories are someone else’s problem.
For you, is producing a successful work about personal satisfaction or recognition from the art world? Why is that?
For me it’s all about personal fulfillment. Before MRE, in order to get appreciation from the art world and my professors, I produced works that didn’t speak about me at all, and I can’t say that I was very satisfied then.
How do you balance the artistic and technical aspects of sculpture to achieve the results you want?
I received good training from good teachers, good information. I had the opportunity to closely examine the works of many of my idols and I realized that I automatically use all of them while producing. My knowledge of materials is not bad either, I think I have somehow figured out how to dimension my own style in the most appropriate way. When all this is combined, the technical part is not much of a problem for me. I think the real problem is to be able to overcome the red lines in the discipline. I think it’s the most important process to break that obligatory ordinary line that you acquire while preparing for school and after winning. The balance I try to establish is to try not to forget what you have learned and somehow ignore it.