Samet Öztürk, the Painter of the Melancholic and the Socially Alienated
Samet Öztürk’s art reflects the melancholic world of the socially alienated individuals. In his works mostly containing autobiographic elements, the artist takes us to the world of those that the so-called normal forces to become invisible. We talked with Öztürk who has recently joined the Art50.net family about the beginning of his artistic journey and his future projects.
When and how did art enter your life? How did you decide to study fine arts?
Since I was little, I have been using the pencil to express my emotional outbursts. At first, I was trying to imitate the simple characters that I saw in some cartoon film or on some invitation, and to reach the level of mastery in these drawings. Once I did not like what I drew, I threw them away. As I began to get the results that I expected, the journey that had started as such became a process through which I expressed what I had inside. And the first work of this process was a self-portrait; there, I drew myself the way I wanted to see myself, more feminine and flamboyant. But I was too shy to exhibit it; I am still shy when it comes to self-assertion. As my relationship with drawing developed, one evening at the dinner table, I said, “I am going to become a painter!”. I was still at the elementary school when I did this, and my father supported me before anyone else. I began to receive lessons from art academies and my own school teacher. The first awards came during middle school; consequently, I first attended the Bolu Anatolian Fine Arts High School, followed by Abant İzzet Baysal University Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Painting. Being someone that my professors believed in further contributed to my self-esteem.
Where does this feeling of deep sadness and loneliness dominant in your paintings come from? Are your figures fictional characters, or are they based on people from reallife? It seems that this has an autobiographic as well as a social aspect…
My figures are usually real characters from my own life; I know their melancholy and I love expressing it. In my paintings, I throw in the society’s face the life offered to the alienated individuals. I do it via metaphors. Due to their actions, the society sees my figures hiding in the dark and looking at the society from a distance as terrible people. They, in turn, experience the deep sadness of not being able to express themselves. The same things take place in my inner world too; but I generally use imaginary figures to reflect myself on the canvas. To find characters that share my melancholy and to work with them takes away the loneliness for all of us. This way, we multiply.
Do you directly work with models? Do you have a prior dialogue or a relationship with every subject in your paintings?
When I use a real figure, I imagine the composition and ask the model to strike the pose I have in mind and take a picture of it. Then, I transfer this photograph with my brush onto the canvas without using any projection techniques. I would have preferred to work with the model directly if he or she could maintain the pose but they do not (laughing!). At the end of the day, there is something called photography; it is hard on the model anyway. All the models I work with are my close friends; there are even some lovers of mine among them.
Which artists, writers and thinkers do you admire and follow regularly?
There are many of them… Yet, almost everything I go through every day becomes my source of inspiration. Life itself is a feast full of surprises in its own right. I am equally influenced by a historiographer’s notes and the eyes of a paper collector burning in the face of his relationship to the system. This is why I do not intend to pronounce a medley favoring some names and leaving the anonymous behind.
And your biggest dream for humanity? If you were to run the world, what would you do differently?
I have never thought about this before; for no one is going to ask me that. What I express in my paintings are intuitive and emotional outbursts. Thanks to them, the world based on certain norms that I do not value, will see the colors of the people that defy those norms.
How did your paths cross with Art50.net? Your thoughts about online platforms?
It did so thanks to a friend of mine who was already an artist at Art50.net. Online platforms are accessible for everyone. Everybody have the internet. Thanks to it, even the people who do not visit the galleries are exposed to the paintings. Moreover, the followers of these online platforms might also become more curious about how the artworks look in real life and begin to visit the galleries more frequently.
Your projects for the near future?
I will soon have a solo exhibition where I will exhibit my sculptures and my works on paper for the first time. I am very excited about it. There will also be some group exhibitions that I will be a part of.
Click for the artist’s page.