A graduate of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Department of Sculpture, Merve Özaslan began designing jewelry while still at school, and her graduation project was also on jewelry. After working for various companies in the jewelry industry, she is currently freelancing, while also creating collage projects that are internationally praised. We met at Anti-Café in Kadıköy to discuss these collages.
Interview: Şener Yılmaz Aslan
When did you first begin to take interest in collages?
Actually I have been making collages since childhood, and it has been a hobby as well as a fun activity for a very long while but this is the first time that I developed a concept and created a collection. I posted them on a few websites and they got noticed somehow. I had made a few collages before but this one became the first concept work. Of course, my education helped me learn and use digital software, and develop an eye for such work. At school you learn what to combine to produce better results.
Are they totally digital?
Yes, they are. There is no cutting with scissors, but when I receive an order I print them out and cut to make a traditional collage, and this is how I sell them. I had an idea to make collages by cutting magazines, etc. but then I realized that the resources for traditional collage were very limited. You need to constantly compile photographs, magazines, etc. On the other hand, the Internet is a vast medium, you can find as many photographs as you want in different styles and concepts. So I thought, why not digital. Digital art has already evolved, and is widely accepted.
Nobody questions whether they are digital or not anymore, right?
Exactly, I store them digitally and if anyone wants an original, meaning a hand crafted piece, I print out the images, and cut them just like I would from a magazine, and make the collage.
So, do you also take photographs?
No, I don’t. Some international websites describe me as a photographer, but that is not the case. I think people assume that I take the black and white photos, but they are in fact very old photos.
Can you find hi-res images on the Internet?
Yes, I can and I use hi-res images anyway. There are archivists on Flickr and the likes where I can find high-resolution old photographs. Sometimes I come across photos I like but cannot use because of their poor quality. But I still use them to make collages for myself.
Cutting out the concrete and replacing with trees, or inserting a colored image into a black and white photo makes one wonder. Was this your reference point when you started?
This was a concept I created. I had such a concept while I was studying ceramics too. My actual profession is jewelry design, and I created a concept that fuses ceramic with natural forms. I loved the idea, and designed several pieces because the nature has so many elements, so many resources. I saw some collage examples with the nature theme, and I liked them. I thought, why not make a series. I made a few, they were very well received, and so I continued. Currently, there are about 28-30 pieces in the collection but it will go up to 50-60 pieces.
What about cinema and music?
I love Pedro Almodovar, as well as Miyazaki and Lars Von Trier. Tim Burton is also a director I have admired since my childhood. As for music, I mostly listen to indie rock.