Ercan Akbay -2

-The second exhibition?
-Two years later in 1989, I had another art exhibition set up at the Kurucesme Art Gallery. I remember there were journalists and art critics present at the opening, and a few newspapers covered my exhibition. My second exhibition was titled after a painting called ĎIn Indescribable Despair.Ē This exhibition had more abstract works than the one before. The one called ďOne Night StandĒ in the file youíre holding is worked by gouache on paper with less colors but more message, and it, too, is based on lyrics of a song. Itís not only depicting a moment from a prostituteís life but also tells the tale of a love that cannot go on despite being deep and full of emotion.

-Had Mr. Semizoglu also organized your second exhibition that was displayed only two years after your first one?
-To be honest, I was at a stage in my life towards the end of 1980ís, where I was a man not even in his thirties and building up success with each passing day, but in a world where I thought I would express myself musically and artistically a lot more articulately; and I was only painting due to Mr. Necdetís insistence for me to do so. He believed that I could be a creative artist and that I should make a career out of this. For this reason, he was trying to throw in my way challenging goals, like the exhibition, to have me keep painting.
Eventually, my second exhibition was displayed on February 1989 in Kurucesme Art Gallery. Full of references to the incredible poems of my favorite poets, it was quite an elegant looking gallery; for the following three weeks my most recent works displayed were accompanied by the soft melodies off my pianist friendís improvisations.
I, on the other hand, was in indescribable despair.

Iím the one whoís bad - 100X50cm
oil on hardboard

-As an artist who works with figurative more than anything, have you never thought about improving your technical skills?
-Even though I havenít had any art education, Iíve always had the photographic memory and technical ability to give someoneís face any expression that I want to give. But I donít want to use realistic and conventional figures on my paintings; I prefer to carelessly draw my abstract thoughts the way I feel like expressing them. I think I might have my worries about a classical training messing up such freedom of thoughts...

the top model - 70X50 cm - oil on canvas

-Was this exhibition what led you to quit painting?
-Actually, no. Although less frequently now, and sometimes when I was out of the country, I continued to paint until the mid-90s, because drawing and painting to me was understanding and expressing; painting has always been an important need in my life. Despite what everyone else said, I would continue to tell stories. When I started writing crime novels in 1996 I gave up on painting altogether, because this time a pencil had replaced the brush...

fetish object - 70X50cm -oil on canvas


one night stand - 50X35cm - gouache on paper

-Which art movement or technique have you adopted in your paintings?
-I havenít adopted any movement, school of thought or philosophy in any of my paintings or books. I always avoid these type of restrictions. I believed in Anarchist philosophy when I was a teenager, Godwin and Proudhon are still profound genius men to my eyes. Many times, I used references to Bakuninís manifestos and Tolstoyís ideas in my books. Apart from that, I had a few paintings in the past categorized as naÔve- expression list or abstract-expression list. However, I donít ever remember myself consciously making the effort to be a part of an art movement.

-Letís talk about the 90s and your third individual exhibition...
-Two years after my second exhibition, in 1991, I displayed my new works in the Maarif-House Art Gallery. It was called ĎA Summerís Nightí named after the composition I made based on my song of the CD that Iíve had released, and other artworks along the same line.

-Was your third exhibition in 1991 successful? What kind of responses did you get?
-No matter what I did or how much my paintings were liked, there was no chance of this Cityís art-world accepting me in. I hadnít graduated from the Academy, I wasnít living an artistís life, and apart from a couple of art lover friends, I didnít know anyone who was in that art-society. My works were of different technique than the conventional Turkish paintings and, not only that, but I was also someone who wasnít making the necessary efforts to become an artist, disliked competition and rivalry, and had no career ambitions. I didnít enter any competitions or looked for advertisement; I didnít promote myself in print, radio or anywhere else.... All these things combined, it would have been a miracle for my name to be heard in a place like Turkey. Because of this, apart from a couple of people, nobody took me seriously as an artist in those years.
I was someone who strongly disliked any sort of rules, regulations, laws, restrictions and authorities existing in the art world. The fact that there were competitions set up, board of judges formed and specialists making evaluations on art was repelling to me. This is why I never took part in any competitions about anything belongs to art in my whole life. I donít find it authentic to make competitions on music, painting and literature. If anybody wishes to support art, it should be through more active ways.

love is just a word - 100X50cm
oil on hardboard


-How long did the exhibitions abroad last?
-For someone who has to habit and work in Istanbul, and carrying his paintings in a luggage while visiting a foreign country with a tourist visa, it is an exhausting and process trying to have artistic activities abroad; due to this, my efforts quickly came to an end in the following years.
The music-period had run out by the mid-90s, Mr. Semizoglu had passed away, and along with my works on the company and music recordings, I was now full-on involved with writing. Despite all the insistence of people around me to do so, I didnít do any painting for more than ten years.