Blind Art Gallery

My fascination with creating forms out of different materials started at a very early age. When I was 3 or 4 I began to pull the caulk from the windows of our house in Turkey, so that I could make animal figures. Eventually, someone noticed the missing caulk, and as a result, I became the only suspect. The mystery was solved when my parents found my artwork, which they thought was cute. To prevent me from stealing more caulk, they bought me a fresh ball of caulk from a window repair shop nearby. Shortly after my discovery of caulk as an artistic medium, I started using mud in my grandmother’s backyard and sand at the beach. Although they were plentiful, neither of them was as good as caulk, and they were not allowed at home. Playing with mud was not possible without being seen by my mother, who didn’t like the mess it created, and playing with sand was limited to outings at the seaside. During that time, window caulk was my favorite material, but I also used play dough, which my mom bought, and cookie dough, which I grabbed from the cookie tray. I was fascinated by the diversity of all the living creatures on earth, so my first figures were mostly of animals. The ones I could touch in my daily life were the easiest to make, such as fish, dogs, ducks, and so on. However, the animals I could only hear about were mysterious and fun to make, because I had to rely on my imagination to create them. Maybe the first elephant I made had no resemblance to an elephant, but it was purely a product of my imagination. I wish I still had some of those early figures. When I started attending a school for the blind in Istanbul, ceramics class became my favorite. There, my work won praise, and my teacher displayed it on shelves. This was the first time I felt that I could create art to please others, not just for myself. Unfortunately, the school didn’t have a kiln, so none of this art work survived more than a few years. In middle school I attended a mainstream school where things changed drastically. We did not have a ceramics class. All we had was a drawing and painting class, and an art teacher, who would not allow any other activity, besides drawing and painting. Fortunately, in high school my art teacher was much more open-minded, and after I explained that I was blind, he allowed me to make clay figurines, instead of drawings or paintings. He was very supportive of my efforts, and in the last class he told me, “You have talent. You should be an artist.” These words encouraged and motivated me, and although I did not pursue a degree in art, I joined a fine arts club at Bosphorus University, where I continued to produce pieces that were exhibited at the annual art festival for four years in a row. Since moving to San Diego, I have exhibited my mask “Francisco” at the Lighthouse Insights Show in 2008, and my “Fish Mask” at the San Diego Fair in 2010. I have never thought that blindness is an obstacle to getting involved with art or in creating something. On the contrary, I believe it helps me to be more creative, especially when I am making masks. Masks are the first sculptural figures I focused on. It is partly because I am fascinated with the variations in the human face. Every face has the same parts—two eyes, a nose, a mouth, a chin, and cheeks, eyebrows and ears. How can it be that there are billions of different faces with such limited components? This is something that still amazes me. I also like to discover the forms of living things in nature, such as animals, flowers, and different plants, and I incorporate them into my masks, such as a fish tail or a bird head. I am inspired by African masks, which I love to touch whenever I am allowed, because they use some of the same forms that I use in my masks. Pottery, however, is something new to me—something I am recently discovering. First, I focused on throwing techniques, and shaping objects. Then, I moved to texturing, carving, and glazing. I am equally amazed to find out how much you can do with a ball of clay and a wheel.

Japanese style teapot
02/12/2012

Japanese style teapot

plate with hamsa hands
02/12/2012

plate with hamsa hands

plate with hamsa hands
02/12/2012

plate with hamsa hands

a small multi-color teapot
02/12/2012

a small multi-color teapot

teapot
02/12/2012

teapot

Small teapot
02/12/2012

Small teapot

Turtle Cassiopeia
02/12/2012

Turtle Cassiopeia

Mr. lifted
02/12/2012

Mr. lifted

fish mask
02/12/2012

fish mask

Fisherman's hand
02/12/2012

Fisherman's hand

Bird mask
02/12/2012

Bird mask

Another day at the studio
02/12/2012

Another day at the studio

Timeline Photos
02/12/2012

Timeline Photos

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9500 Gilman Dr
La Jolla, CA
92093

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