Burak Şentürk is an artist from Istanbul whose surreal, cartoony and all-around crazy work has carved himself a special place in the Turkish and international illustration scene. His exhibition history is long, and his clients include brands like Spotify, Green Day, Warner Music, Apple, Red Bull, Nike, Coca-Cola, Star Wars, The Famous Grouse, Converse, or Wacom. I’ve personally followed his art activity for years, and as I finally got to collab with him, it was a perfect time to sit down and chat about what the hell is going on in his work.
Jæn – Hi Burak, nice to finally take the time to dive deeper in this insane body of work you’ve put out. Let’s start with your origin story™: before you even enrolled in Marmara’s Faculty of Fine Arts for a proper art education, what was your early creative drive?
Burak Şentürk – At a very young age, I was a child who spoke little and observed everything. I probably perceived things differently than other people. I think that those years were the beginning of my creative adventure that has continued until now.
J – I can really relate to that, it seems most artists get their inner world brewing through solitude in early years. It’s not a surprise your pieces turn out extremely dreamy, and it feels like not everything has a precise symbolic meaning, rather that you follow an unconscious trail of dream-like logic. How do your wilder concepts usually take shape?
BS – Actually, you made a very good point. I avoid certainty in my work. Because I believe that I should leave an open door for people who will connect with these works. I need their participation to define these artifacts and dreams. I think it’s a team game.
J – Interesting, it certainly works on me! Although, some pieces seem to be much more upfront and to tell a more defined story. Can you tell us a bit about what goes on in the following pieces? So many little details seem to have a voice of their own!
BS – As I just mentioned, in addition to the works I expect to participate in, I also let my subconscious mind flow independently while I’m drawing. Thus, I can get a much more pure and uncalculated output. I could say they are gifts brought to me by my subconscious, who went on the journey with me.
J – Alright. Let’s shift the talk and have a go about the current broader visual arts scene in Turkey, which is blooming and full of hyper talented artists, something I feel like wasn’t the case maybe 10 or 20 years ago. Do you think it has evolved recently too? It looks like both crypto art and crypto trading are really huge in your country as well, that has probably helped this phenomenon as well.
BS – Yes, that’s a really good observation and you’re so right. Especially in the last 10-15 years, great artists have emerged in Turkey. We can see creators who are incredibly talented and have their own unique language. They discovered cryptocurrencies in my country many years ago and the vast majority are related to this topic. I think everyone is looking for an outlet for their life. However, NFT has also been a great way for artists to promote themselves internationally and reach more people.
J – I love it, it’s really cool to discover new scenes like that. Going back to your work, your SuperRare beginnings are doing great right now, so what’s next for you? Any project cooking in the oven?
BS – Thank you very much. SuperRare has been like a second birth to me. I had created a large number of NFTs so far and delivered them to their new owners. However, I think that one of the most suitable channels for 1/1s is SR. I am very happy to be there. Since I am new, I make an effort for the collectors there to see my work. Apart from that, I get some project offers. However, I haven’t made my decision on this yet.
J – Definitely something to watch closely. Thank you for this great peek in your world. Last question is from Thomas Belisarius: what are some of your sources of inspiration?
BS – Amonh artists that inspire me, there is James Jean and Moebius, and more generally Istanbul, my city. A place where many different cultures intersect, you can find everything here, and it’s a love and hate relationship for me.
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about myself and my art. Finally, I see my process in my art as a marathon and I will continue to produce by keeping my pace. I hope it will be a long-term journey and to be with new believers on this road. Thank you so much.
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