Drawing in /on Milas

So lately, I have been working on a presentation on “Color in Space” that I will use in a workshop I’ll be giving at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (!) at Gediz University, which is a private university in Turkey just a 20-minute drive from where I hope to be moving (eventually), Foça.

One of the things that makes Foça so attractive is that it has been able to retain some of its character as an old Greek fishing village. Local tourism has helped in this – Foça is so close to Izmir that you can live and work in the city and still go out for dinner in Foça and makek it home safe in time to get to bed and then get up for work the next day. But mainly what has preserved Foça is that it is pretty close to Greece – so there’s a large naval base and commando training center there (in case we’re invaded?) that has kept the overdevelopment at bay.

Closer to Bodrum is the village of Çomakdağ, in Milas, which is trying to preserve its local character while generating income from tourism by offering “reenactments” of village life for world-weary “city” dwellers in Bodrum and beyond.

Çomakdağ certainly has character, character comprised of color:

Comakdag painted door

I took the photograph of that door on a group trip to Çomakdağ a few years ago. It’s one of the slides in my presentation on Color in Space. I’m using it as an example of how color is used in traditional architecture. In the case of Çomakdağ, the village houses have painted woodwork inside and out.

In addition to wandering around the village and taking photographs during my visit, I sat with the rest of our group to watch a performance of a village wedding. My friend Annete found this photo and send it to me last week – it’s a picture of me and a budding young artist drawing the dancers. (Notice our matching hiking boots…)

Drawing in Milas

OK, now (in the immortal words of Matt Groening), “GET BACK TO WORK”


Take me to the river, drop me in the water

Water Pastel 040316

Well, not the river but the sea, and I am feeling immersed in it, even though I am presently sitting well above the high-water mark inside a cafe overlooking the sea and Kos. The waves appear to be coming from the west – a reverse-migration? You might not believe me, but the lit-up waves are looking to me just as they do in this picture.

I believe this is a picture of a father and son, son inside a little plastic blow-up tube, probably hasn’t quite learned how to swim yet. The swimming lesson may have been interrupted by something they’ve seen…

Water Pastel 050316

The drawing above started out as two girls talking to each other as they crouched down in the shallow water. Somehow it morphed into two men holding onto a sinking rubber boat, waiting to be rescued…

I was getting a little depressed finding that all my swimmers were morping into drowners; so, I decided to draw a kayaker. She appears to be doing okay, although heading towards a rocky shore…

Water Pastel 090316

I got a message the other day that there the Citizens’ Advisory Council (“Kent Konseyi”) is organizing an exhibit of Bodrum artists; we all get to have 2 pieces in the show. That makes me happy, because I won’t have to choose between swimmers and drowners. I can have both. Bodrum. Just like I pictured it.

Activist Art

OK, no postings for a while because I have not been in the studio making more art.

Instead, I have been doing other things like going to a conference on activism and civil society in Turkey sponsored by a European Union program callled “Sivil Düşün” (“Think Civilly”), where I learned a lot, met some great people, and also gave a workshop on how NGOs can use visual art and design to reach their goals. Now, I’m getting ready to exhibit the “Ottoman Princesses” in Istanbul – “inşallah” (god willing…and the creek don’t rise)…

About all I’ve had time to do “in the studio” lately were a couple of cards for a mail art exhibit called “Maculine Violence” (just click here for the link to a facebook page on the exhibition). If you can imagine what these 2 images look like superimposed together then you’ll know what 1 of my postcards looked like (forgot to take a pic myself) – 1st image is a photo of “refugees at an unofficial camp” outside Izmir (went up there with an NGO from Bodrum last Sunday, the photo is actually not mine, but one taken with my camera by one of the other kids in the camp), and the 2nd image is obvious.

Now, before I go back to tidying up the “Princesses” for their still uncertain journey to Istanbul, I wanted to post this link to a truly brilliant bit of “Activist Art” that I came across thanks to Facebook (it does do good, sometimes).

It’s https://thecapturedproject.com/ – for “CAPTURED: People in Prison Drawing People Who Should Be.  To quote the artists Jeff Greenspan and Andrew Tider:

“Corporations frequently commit crimes any average person would be imprisoned for. These corporate crimes devastate our environment, economy and society, yet the companies committing them often get away with only paying a settlement. These payouts do little damage to a corporation’s bottom line and are practically baked into their budgets. The cost of doing business.

CAPTURED shines a light on these crimes masquerading as commerce. Through the use of art made by people in prison, this project imagines the highest levels of corporate leadership being personally responsible for their companies’ illegal actions.

The artistry displayed within this project may help viewers see the incarcerated as more than one-dimensional criminals and remind them a prisoner is also a person. They may also remind us a corporation is not a person. A corporation has no conscience. It cannot repent or truly pay for its crimes.

As consumers, we can say there are injustices we are not willing to tolerate. By not supporting companies endangering our health and freedom, and by questioning a system that wields punishment so unevenly, we can stop being mute witnesses.”

If you click on the link you’ll find beautiful portraits of the CEOs of Wall Mart, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil and everybody’s favorite, Monsanto, to name just a few, along with information about the corporations they head. The artists have also put together a book (sold out, but you can place an order which they will fulfill if they get enough requests to do another print run), profits from which they’re donating to Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president.