Hello Mehmet. Who are you and how do you work?
I am a painter from Ankara, Turkey. The pictures I create always have preliminary preparations and sketches. I need an intensive production process to develop an idea or concept that I have dreamed of. Therefore, I like to produce in many different techniques, such as wall painting, collages, ink, charcoal or original printing. In addition to discovering new material, this working process makes me think of new ideas in the process of change and transformation of the compositions I have constructed, and it gives me excitement. I think that working hard and being a very productive person is necessary for one to construct their own utopian world, and I try to make minimal paintings using as few and concise forms as possible.
What made you become an artist?
I remember drawing something on the school board and on notebook pages in my childhood. When I was in middle school, I got an award in a painting competition for ‘Forest Week’. This award was a turning point for me and I decided to study painting at university. I opened my first personal exhibition at the age of 19 when I finished high school.
Where do you currently see yourself in your artistic career?
-I don’t see myself in a “place” right now. I don’t think it’s right, because art will be a beautiful story of the life I will create throughout my life.
Can you elaborate on your personal style?
In recent years, I have been making minimal abstract paintings. Previously, I used organic shapes as well as geometric forms within my concepts. I like to use a lot of colors in my palette. Changing and minimizing the forms I see and replaying the optical values of colors in my compositions makes me very happy. I always feel the need to paint utopian landscapes and some concepts of my culture.
What do you like about minimalist art?
I can say that I have observed that when people perceive the shape of an object, they first see the whole and then they consider the details. However, as we go into detail, we can understand how interconnected and effective a visual is when small particles form the whole. Like the splitting of an atom. Nonetheless, small particles of every object that we cannot see make up the whole of the universe. I try to recreate a visual effect in my own way by minimizing nature in my paintings. Less is more.
Are you a self-taught artist?
After graduating from university, I worked as a freelancer. I did not work in any institution. I continued my life with the income I got from my art. I taught students in my own art house and I always painted.
Do you have certain favorite artists?
Piet Mondrian, Vasili Kandinsky, Vincent van Gogh are artists I love and value. Burhan Doğançay, Ergin İnan, Hasan Pekmezci are my favorite artists from my country. I talked about my favorite artists, but i don’t have specific inspirations. Nature itself is enough for those who know how to read it. My experiences, readings and dreams are my sources of inspiration.
What have galleries or art critics said about your work?
They always made good expressions with admiration. They wrote about me. Hasan Pekmezci, poet writer Gültekin Emre, Bedri Karayağmurlar, Kaya Özsezgin and Bünyamin Balamir have written good articles about my paintings. For example, Gültekin Emre: ”These brushes are immortal, so are the disfigured paint caps. But man is mortal with his sins, immortal of course with his good deeds. But there is a paradise there, far away, even if we don’t go there or see it, we have no idea what is going on there, how it is (if it is there) how it is lived (other than what religious books offer). It is worth seeing that the caps of tube paints that have forgotten their shape and become accustomed to their new form stand together in brotherhood and harmony before our eyes. Acrylics on canvas are so free and full of stories, full of dreams like flying whirlwinds: These dreams and stories also have a childlike, pure and immaculate side to those who can see,” he said.
What would the the art studio of your dreams?
I would be very happy if I had a large workshop with a large hall with high ceilings, where I could produce 30 very large paintings at once, as well as an exhibition area where I could display my works, and a special place where I could host my guests, and where I could paint more. But with the pandemic, an armchair and a coffee table were enough in my house. I made hundreds of paintings sitting on an armchair, so I can say that an armchair became my workshop.
What project would you like to realize?
My biggest project would be a very large complex museum for myself. Also, I love making experimental productions. Trying new materials is important to me. I would like to do three-dimensional works and make very large pictures.
Do you occasionally work with other artists?
Yes I do . Sometimes I bring artists together to think about projects and then realizing them.
Do you sometimes need motivation to paint?
I exhibited my works in 32 personal exhibitions and I participated in a group exhibition, but i can’t remember the number of participants.
Thank your for the conversation, Mehmet.
Mehmet Ali Doğan ★ Artist resume
It is necessary to do something without stopping for good. For the people, for future generations. Whatever values we leave for the world culture and humanity can be a dream of a person. Isn’t the story that a person creates in life a part of his culture anyway? Let there be no wars. Let people live freely. That’s why I named the concepts I use in my paintings the LIMITED AREAS SERIES, THE SINS OF HEAVEN SERIES, THE DEAD STITCH SERIES, THE BAD SOULS SERIES. The chaos in our world, the lifestyles of different cultures and the stories of superiority of different cultures throughout the history of humanity are actually metaphors that I tried to create. Regardless of language, religion or race: humanity should now embrace each other and develop methods of serving the universal culture.