Ercan Akbay -3

-But you never stopped having an interest in art.... When did you go back to painting?
-Years later in 2006, I started painting once again while designing cover art of my book for a publishing agency. I had always been making my own covers, fliers, advertisements, logos and pamphlet designs for my companies before this, anyway. As I enjoy using drawings instead of photographs on book covers, I started designing a painting once again. I have my first book cover work right here, let me show you:

the first deadly sin - 100X50cm
oil on hardboard

-We also ran into you at the 2007 Tuyap Art-Fair.... You were at your publisher’s stand signing copies of your recently released novel. Were your paintings displayed there, too?
-Yes, that same year in October I was given the opportunity to exhibit my additional works in Tuyap Art Fair. I put larger-sized works on display this time, dedicated to poems of the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas...

and death shall have no dominion - 160X100cm -oil on canvas

-I recall that a year after the Art-Fair, you were at a gallery in Beyoglu. Was that your fifth individual exhibition?
-Yes, I kept going in April 2008 at Denizati Art Gallery with ‘Love is just a Word.’ This time I tried something different than telling songs, poems and stories. People who came to the exhibition commented that I had touched their hearts again, and that they were trying to find the hidden meanings behind each emotion-filled art piece.

-As someone who kept painting and writing for years despite difficult circumstances, would you say that difficult circumstances in life kill creativity?
-I don’t think any negativity can kill creativity that easily. Negativities and tough situations are moments of opportunity for creative people. I have been through where personal and financial circumstances have created pressure on me many times in life, but all these instances have ended up as material for my books and paintings and encouraged me to produce even more.
Even so, I am not overlooking the poverty and difficulty that most of the artists go through. Art is an action of heart, but to leave artists penniless would be a action of heartlessness.

a summer's night - 100X50 cm - oil on hardboard



the shop - 70X50 cm - oil on canvas

After receiving praise for my cover designs, I opened up an art workshop in Beyoglu and from then on, I promised myself to keep painting the rest of my life no matter what. Painting is something I really love... I feel that, not only is painting a great way to ease the mind of worries, but a very effective way of expression. Like I said before, in all the fields of art I’m interested in, the thing that most excites me is to express my ideas, narrate my stories, show my colors and emotions in the way I want to and the best way possible.
I am determined to maintain this quest for as long as I live.

-What did you involve yourself with, at the times when you didn’t paint?
-During this time I didn’t put a pause on my works in other fields. It’s a long story, but apart from literature and music, I worked on many different grounds. Some of these jobs were for paying the bills; I was married, had a daughter and many responsibilities. Nonetheless, they were all somehow related to art fields I was interested in, and I was able to make a living out of taking the jobs nobody else wanted or considered work. Some works I did just to have a good time are each exceptional adventures by themselves. From managing a jazz club to getting involved with the stock market, to inventing a food brand and setting up chain restaurants of ready-made meals, to a computer-service company, to restoration of old buildings, to gramophone record cleaning, documentary filming, and many, many more jobs where I won, I lost, I cried, I laughed and I had a blast...
Nowadays, due to chasing after immortality, I want to make permanent works.

-Where did you first exhibit all your recent works?
-Together with Bilim Sanat Gallery- Mr. Nevzat Metin’s efforts, I was able to display my fourth individual exhibition in Moda Deniz Kulubu Art Gallery, in 2007. ‘So Busy Loving You’, based on poems and stories, and consisting of oil paintings on hardboard mostly, ended up being a nice and smooth comeback. If you ask me, I had re-started with a higher level of knowledge than I had before, and an improved aesthetic maturity. Yet I had friends of mine who came, and wished for me to repeat my former art phase, muttering about how the kind of things I did before were so nice.
I told them those works were history...

so busy loving you
100X50 cm - oil on hardboard

-How would you define ‘success’? Do you think ‘you’ are successful?
-I have never run after a career in my life. Both in my work life and my art activities...  As an ‘art bug’ for more than 30 years, I have not been able to have a moment of ‘fame’ worth noting in the art of painting. I’m not upset by this and believe that I’m successful in my own way by acting the way I want to. The recipe for reaching success for people who find richness in feeding their raging needs obviously can’t be the same as mine; for them, there is no success, peace or happiness without a career...
If one is able to draw a fitting life path for himself and stay on that road without hurting people around him or harming others, and if one is able to stop on life’s crossroads and look back on life to see they’ve been taking firm and strong steps to make it that far, one is successful. There may be a connection between being knowledgeable and being successful, but against common belief, I don’t think there’s a relation between money and success. For success, their needs to be goals and desires met.
I’m the person in my childhood dreams now, and this is why, in a way, I consider myself successful. For the ones who look for success in reputation, fame and materialistic prestige, I’m not much of any success.