An Artist Searching for the Essence of Existence: Mehmet Can Gürsoy
Mehmet Can Gürsoy approaches the concept of existence from a holistic point of view, and he also sees his creative adventure as a process of getting to know himself. As one the freshest members of the Art50.net family, we embarked on a pleasant journey into Gürsoy’s world ranging from intuition to dreams, from the subconscious to nature.
How did your interest in art emerge?
I started painting with the desire to express nature, my emotions, my intuition and the worlds within me with a basic discovery instinct. Around the age of five, I was eager to talk to the world and to learn more about my place in it. As years went by, I experienced the indescribable pleasure of getting to know my own existence and talking to it through art. And as I got to know myself better, I realized I was also able to know the others better. Receiving artistic education on top of all this allowed me to spend more time at the very heart of art. This process obviously had various contributions; but in the meantime, I also saw that some people got tired of certain instructors and the education system at large, and gave up on art to look for new life paths and new quests.
You spent one of your academic years in Spain. How did this experience affect your artistic and personal development?
I can say that, in Spain, I was literally reborn as “Can”. Although I had brought with me there my own experience of art and life from the past, Spain’s aura, or atmosphere, triggered a transformation in me which was reflected in my character and in my art alike. Before Spain, I used to have a figurative style, and once I went there I was introduced to abstract art. There the selflessness of my instructors, the faculty’s richness and the importance given to art in Europe had a very deep positive impact on me. On the other hand, my education and research process, especially during the preparation of my first solo exhibition and of some group exhibitions taking place in other cities, taught be to be patient and disciplined. Going to other Spanish cities in addition to Granada was also an opportunity for me to see and to experience the artistic and cultural perspectives changing from city to city.
In your works, one can sense the presence of elements from both psychology and the subconscious, as well as Animism and existential subjects. What would you like to say about this? What are your sources of inspiration?
For me, the subconscious is both an important layer of reality and an important creation tool. Similarly, dreams are the witnesses of this reality. Emotion and intuition are the main spheres that determine our mundane actions, express who we are, take us to a higher spiritual level and give us meaning. I believe that concepts like psychology, animism and existentialism are already to be found in human emotion and intuition. This is why I prefer to combine all of them in one concept rather than to address them separately. And that is the concept of “Existence”; the opposite of nothingness, the nature itself, the power of movement and change. And my main objective is to learn and to illustrate how that missing element of nature in human existence can be brought to completion.
Your works have close technical affinities with illustration. Do you produce work in that realm as well?
My works have a new and hybrid visual quality standing between painting and illustration. I have never seen a distinction between these two spheres up to this day or perhaps I do not want to. Categorizing an image either as an illustration or a painting based on material, thematic or narrative nuances is against the innovative nature of art, it is a very classical approach. For instance, a comic book is composed of divided frames of paintings. Even if we call it a comic book, it is also a book of paintings. Leaving such definitions to the individuals’ imagination seems healthier to me. Another frequently made mistake is to treat painting as almost sacred, and to treat illustration as something with less value and a secondary status. In contemporary art, categories are intertwined and integrated. I have wanted to place a particular emphasis on this subject as I hear the “is this painting or illustration?” debates rather often these days.
Which artists and art events do you follow regularly?
Even if an individual stands still, with or without a contribution to life, this has an artistic meaning. For the lack of action is as valuable as action in terms of generating an experience. Yet, I have to add that change is always change. Therefore, we shall not forget that everyone from the past to the present, from art history or from outside of it, has had some sort of contribution to life. Similarly, I consider providing a particular favorite artist’s name as an injustice to all the other artists. My approach is the same towards the art events.
Our next question is about the world of imagination with no boundaries. If you were lost in a forest, who do you think would become your best friend? If you were to create art there, who or what would be the first thing you would depict?
What we refer to as nature is life itself. Nature becomes visible as a result of our observations, actions and experiences. Thus, my main guide in a forest could be my intuition. For the second part of the question, I would depict myself as a creature composed of a bird’s head and tree roots, so that it reminded me of my human nature. This way, I would never forget that I would amount to nothing without the plants and the animals.
How did your paths cross with Art50.net? In your opinion, what is the role of the online platforms in young artists’ careers?
I have been following Art50.net since its earliest days. I was already pleased with the way it promoted independent artists waiting to be discovered. After a long and intense period at the studio, I decided that I had an enough number of good quality paintings, and I said “this is the moment” and I applied. The exhibitions’ purpose is to present the works to people and to receive various reactions. Within such a mechanism, I think the online platforms are not that different from the galleries with a physical space; they are even more effective with regards to the art’s and the artist’s visibility. Young artists need a large social network more than anything at the beginning of their careers. Plus, to be able to sustain their profession, they need to turn their works into a source of income. I believe that online platforms are more effective than galleries in this regard.
Your projects for the near future?
First, to absolutely create more paintings. I have quite a few paintings waiting to get started or to get finished, and I intend to finish them as soon as possible and present them to the viewers. Some of these projects are in series, whereas others are singular works. Second, although I opened my first solo show abroad, one of my strongest desires is to organize my first solo show in Turkey. I am looking forward to discovering where and when it will take place. Finally, like many other artists, one of my primary objectives is to exhibit my projects at art institutions worldwide.
Click for the artist page.