November 9, 2016

We chat to Merve Özalslan, an artist endlessly inspired by nature whose collection of collages named ‘Natural Act’ aims to query the relationship between humans and our uncultivated surroundings.

UO: When did you first become interested in art and decide upon pursuing it as a career?

My interest in art comes from my childhood; but I guess I was attracted to it in a more subconscious way back then. My parents and teachers also lead me on that way and they have had an impact on me to choose to become an artist.

UO: You are known for your ceramic work as well as your collages; what is your favourite medium to work in?

In college, my subject was ceramics. Working with clay enables you to master in hand artifice and it also gives room for creativity. Due to my subject, I have always been more inclined to plastic arts and that is why my favorite material has always been clay.

UO: What is the process of choosing the right imagery for your collages?

Finding the right photograph is as important as doing the collage. Choosing a random photograph and trying to make it, is not my way of working. Rather, I search for the right image until I find something I really want to work with. That sometimes takes days or even weeks. But when I find the right photo, the collage directly takes shape in my mind. The rest is about getting that image from my head to real life.

UO: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far in your career?

Natural act series became my most popular work. Afterwards, I continued with designing book and album covers. It is really great to start with collage and then expand my scope to other things.

UO: What other artists do you look to for inspiration?

Marcelo Montreal, Eugenia Loli and Nic Courdy inspire me a lot when I am doing my collages.

UO: Describe your style in three words.

Simple. Natural. Surreal.

UO: What was the most valuable lesson you learnt whilst studying at university?

The most valuable lesson that I learnt while I was studying at university was this: Nature is the only everlasting source that would inspire an artist. An artist must always remain close to nature. I appreciated that advice during my studies and I still do.

UO: Is nature something that has always inspired you then?

It always impresses me how nature contains endless forms and textures. There are maybe thousands of them that I don’t know and that curiosity makes me more enthusiastic about producing art related to nature.

UO: What advice do you have for aspiring artists and designers?

They have to be themselves. As an artist or designer it is really hard to find your own voice but it’s also the key for success.

UO: Does you work reflect your personal aesthetic? And vice versa?

My work generates from my curiosity and admire for nature. But they are not just aesthetic figures, they also raise some questions: the questions that I have in my mind for a long time and the ones that I want to share with other people. So, I can definitely say that my works reflect me.