I am sending
with my paintings
Shetells stories about women and she does it using brush, canvas and colors. Art Gallery 5'14 represents a visual artist Gulcin Tok, who knows the world of women better than most people.
- How do you start your paintings, is there a specific ritual?
- Before I start painting, I always smoke a cigarette while drinking hard Turkish coffee. In the meantime, I concentrate on deciding what kind of composition it will be. Sometimes the figures come up because of some events that I was impressed with or affected by, sometimes I research for figures and they come up one by one, then It eventually becomes a composition. When the composition is revealed, the colors of the composition reflect my current mood.
- Does your family play a big role in who you are as an artist?
- In my childhood I was impressed and inspired by my two cousins, they were good painters. I have always loved painting. In school, I was very talented compared to other kids and my family has always supported me.
- When you are working, does time stand still or does it fly by?
- Time disappears, sometimes I work 12 hours in a day.
- Why are women the main theme of your artwork?
- In my projects, the main characters are women because women face too many problems in the world. For instance, In Turkey, some women are killed for no proper reason, some women are forced to get married at young ages, some women are beaten by their husbands, brothers or other men. These women are discriminated against, and we see that there are similar sexist struggles in the world. I am telling these women's stories through their eyes. I am sending messages with my paintings.
- Do you paint men as well?
- Yes, I do paint men as well but less often than I paint women. It depends on the topic of the project.
- Who are the models for your works?
- In my work I use my daughter and my friends as models and sometimes I even see myself in the painting.
- Why and when did you start studying violence against women, loneliness, discrimination and alienation?
- I have studied violence against women, loneliness, discrimination and alienation for 5 years because when I switch on the television, I see violence against women, young girls are raped and killed or married against their will, divorced women are killed by ex-husbands. It’s not safe outside for women at night, so Instead of watching these things on the news, I want to help them and I react to the discriminations with my paintings.
In my paintings, I've drawn myself to most of the female figures whose painful emotions in the paintings have been shattered. Five years ago, I lost someone who was very important to me and at the same time some family matters were happening. I suffered a lot, but I hid it inside. I freely draw all I have inside, so I guess there is too much emotion in my paintings because of these feelings.
When people come to my exhibitions, Aesthetic structure and composition of my work gets the attention of visitors. People said that I tell a lot of things with my paintings and everyone finds something about themselves in my paintings. In my painting, people see what they want to see. I tell a lot without talking. Despite everything, I have never lost the energy and the power inside me. I reflect all good and bad feeling in my paintings.
- What does freedom mean to you when it comes to art?
- When It comes to art, freedom means my art, my paintbrush and colors. Sometimes it is the area where I can express my thoughts freely.
- What kind of impact do you expect your work to have?
- I know people really love my work and I want to share my work with masses worldwide. I also want to sell my art and want my paintings to be in houses that I don’t know. I am expressing all my positive energy towards my paintings so each of my paintings has its own special energy.
- Is your work influenced by the questions you ask yourself in your mind?
- Yes, my work is influenced by the questions which are on my mind. I am creating a composition of paintings with these questions. If there is a thing which I experienced or witnessed, then it affects me much more.
- Do you think your artwork can influence social change?
- I don't know if my work affects social changes, but I think we need to pay attention and find solutions to the problems instead of watching them.
- What project are you working on now?
- I am still studying women using my own style and it will continue for a while…
More artworks by Gulcin Tok