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Tayfun Pekdemir - Graffiti

Sayı 12

Graffiti ve tasarımları üzerine...

Interview: Şener Yılmaz Aslan

How did you start drawing?

I started drawing actively with graffiti. I found them interesting so I wanted to try it for myself with a cheap paint but that was before high school. And the result was terrible. A friend who lived in the same neighborhood and I tried it together. Later on as some things began to take shape on my mind, we decided to form a group. 

What did you study in high school? 

I attended a general high school, I didn’t even know that there were high schools of fine arts but I have been drawing since I was very young. As a matter of fact, my aunt still keeps some of the drawings from my childhood. I haven’t looked at them yet but I am very curious to see what I did back then. 

What aspect of this work appeals to you? 

The fact that I get to determine the boundaries...

What technique do you use for graffiti?

I mostly use spray paint but I also like using brushes. At times I may even use markers depending on the texture of the wall surface. 

I loved your series of deformed portraits. How were they born?

It was actually a school project. So I can say that it was born of a school project. I liked the results, and I wanted to continue the series. I like trying different things simultaneously and I don’t really stick to one single style. This way I can get better results because the daily life influences the works and I am not afraid of trying new things. 

So how did you create these?

These were created completely digitally. Using a high-resolution image, I began to process it on tablet. In deforming the portraits, I mainly used their own textures. Later a UK magazine titled Practical Photoshop Magazine wanted to publish my work; I accepted with pleasure and they immediately published. I was very happy of course. 

You use the tag “Zest” on your graffiti; where does it come from? 

It is a word that I once saw in a magazine and it became my first tag, which I still use. It actually means some thing that imparts flavor but I adopted it more like a name, completely independent from its meaning. 

Recently there was an event in Kadıköy called Mural İstanbul where several local and international artists painted the walls with their works. What is your take on that?

Graffiti is just becoming popular in Turkey, and mural is a totally different dimension. Since Istanbul is quite untouched in this respect, people find it appealing. Therefore I think the artists come here willingly. 

So what is the difference between a mural and graffiti?

I would say graffiti is the art of writing on walls, whereas mural, although it stems from graffiti, is drawing on a wall. This is the primary difference between the two. One other difference is that murals are mostly drawn with legal permission and only on walls. Graffiti on the other hand is usually unlawful and can be drawn not only on walls but even on public transport vehicles. They can be seen especially on trains. This is not a definite rule of course, sometimes they intersect, and artists may use graffiti and mural in the same work. 

Do you get an itch when you see a blank wall? Do you feel like I wish they would let me paint that wall freely?

Totally… I really feel an itch… You look at the wall longingly. I mean there were many times when I thought I wish they would say ok, I wish we could agree so I could draw on the wall. And oftentimes there are places I want to draw on illegally. Nowadays, I am trying to discover places that can be seen from way below by jumping from roof to roof, and climbing higher. But it seems rather difficult. 

I think you need help. 


What about new projects, what’s on your mind?

I am currently doing some works for Sabit Fikir, most recently I illustrated a children’s book titled Ada’s Hair. There may be some more illustrations for children’s books soon. I need to improve my second language, and once I solve this problem I intend to go abroad to work. 

Sayı 12
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