I am so fortunate to live on a wooded campus in the center of Istanbul. While walking to the studio recently, all prepared with ideas in my head of what I would work on that day, I noticed the gorgeous autumn leaves all along the path. Fig leaves, walnut, ivy, wisteria, oak, and many more I don't know the names of. These autumn leaves on a beautiful, blue sky day became such a source of inspiration and were such fun to play with! And, by the way, putting fig leaves through the press results in a beautiful aroma of fig in the studio!
In July, I traveled to Savannah, Georgia to attend Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)'s Educator Forum. During this one week program, I took an eight hour workshop called Coding for the Art Classroom, taught by SCAD graduate and digital artist, Jordan Graves.
I took this workshop mainly because I know that coding is becoming increasingly important in education as national curricula of numerous countries putting a greater emphasis on computer science and technological education and innovation. I wanted to see how coding and computer science relates to the art world. Our school has a one-to-one laptop program and many students are interested in coding. I'd like to find a way to integrate computer science and coding into my art classroom and show students that a love of art and a love of coding are symbiotic.
Holy cow, this workshop was incredible. Jordan taught us two different coding software programs, Processing 2.0 and Arduino. Both are free, open source software with loads of free tutorials and web-based communities to assist artists to learn to create digital art. We began with making simple shapes and animating those simple shapes in Processing. Then spent the next session building on those skills to program small Arduino Uno processors to control a string of LED lights, changing the colors of the lights, the pattern and speed in which they flash.
As someone who knew nothing about coding when I started the workshop, and had enough of a handle on the systems to continue my own self study when I returned home, I was very pleased. While I don't think I will actually become a digital artist, I have a new understanding of how these works are made and do have some ideas of my own of how I could integrate this medium into artworks.
The Creative Arts topic this quarter was Place. It was my turn to present and given my interest in the concept of 'Place' as it relates to art making, I wanted to inspire my students with a topic that I find inspiring.
We are fortunate that our school is located on a beautifully wooded campus in the center of Istanbul. We so frequently think of our school as a place of impressive buildings and intelligent students, and sometimes forget that one of the things that makes our school special is the environment that we are in. We focused this project on the flora and fauna of our campus, making our own paper and printing it with observational drawings of the plant and insect life that thrive in this green space in the middle of the city.
My work has always been heavily grounded in a sense of Place. When I live within view of the mountains and pine trees, I incorporate motifs of mountains and trees in my work. Since New Years, I've been increasingly interested in creating abstract representations of Robert College, Istanbul, and Turkey.
Tea and Turkish culture are synonymous. With this piece I was interested in creating a topographical landscape or map utilizing the ubiquitous beverage as the media.
I'm excited to hear these lino-selfies made by myself and my students safely made it from Istanbul, Turkey all the way to Galiano Island, British Columbia, Canada in time for the Galiano Relief Retreat! Thank you, Peter, for your inspiring, collaborative projects bringing printmakers from around the world together!
Today I challenged myself to create a series of neutral landscapes from the primaries. Living in a metropolis of over 15,000,000 people, my landscapes now tend more toward the urban than the 'land'. Creating this print of the hill across the Bosphorus from me was fun as I mixed different values of neutral tones on this overcast March day.
When I was finished with these neutral colors I experimented with printing on leftover pieces of tea-stained paper and used other templates from an earlier series.
With the end of the quarter, we have been busy finishing up projects and preparing to share the work!
In Creative Arts, we focused on the theme of "Ritual" and discussed the difference between rituals and habits. For many of the students, reading is part of a daily or regular ritual. We learned about the history and importance of books and reading throughout history and how books were considered precious items. These precious items were identified to their owners with bookplates or "Ex Libris".
The students create Ex Libris pieces in linoleum, reflecting things that are important to them and their ritual. We printed them using a rainbow of colors on our printing press.
Recently, I've been drawn more to alternative techniques of image making, rather than exclusively printing or photography. I've been creating drawings and paintings based on my specific environment. Some are focused on the one-hundred year old building I work in. A majestic school building, complete with columns and arched windows and old marble floors. In places, these floors are cracked from the pressure of thousands of students and teachers footsteps as they hurry to class, the library, the science labs. These cracks create a history and a mark on this huge stone building, and a sort of a topographical landscape when viewed from above.
Edit: Thanks to everyone who came out for the show! What an honor to be included with so many talented artists!
I'm really looking forward to seeing all the printmakers from Studio Caddebostan at the Printmaking exhibition on Friday!
Waking up on New Years to the news of yet another horrific terror attack in my city. This time, right down the road from where I live, at a nightclub I've passed hundreds of times. After a December of bombings and insecurity, I am filled with sadness and uncertainty for the future. Will we stay or go?
Immersing myself in the topography of the city, meditating on the colors of my palate as the water flowed on the page creating land masses, highways, and, of course the Bosphorus Strait, was calming and healing on this first day of 2017.