GN8PROJECT: So Ayşen, tell me a bit about your background.
AYŞEN: I studied fine arts for 4 years in Istanbul, which is where I am originally from. I moved to New England about 12 years ago, and have been occupying a great studio in an old button factory in Portsmouth, NH since 2006.
GN8P: Would you say that your move to the States was artistically driven?
AYŞEN: No it was not, unless you consider life an artistic endeavor overall.
GN8P: Do you think living and working in NH has helped shape or manipulate your artwork at all?
AYŞEN: Certainly. The moment you are born you are in a relationship with your surroundings. How you respond to what receive from your surroundings makes you who you are. And I think this also applies to your work as well.
GN8P: You said that you’ve been working in a studio located in an old button factory since 2006 – what is it about this building that keeps you happy working there?
AYŞEN: The Button Factory has a very industrial and urban feel which I can relate to. My process requires me to work alone, but I enjoy the feeling of continuous activity going on in the other art studios around me.
GN8P: Would you say you have any studio habits or quirks that help you get pumped up to make artwork (ie. music, rituals, etc.)?
AYŞEN: I cannot function without tea. PG Tips is a must have. I put the kettle on as the first thing, then I decide whether to use my clear glass or white porcelain mug, depending on the mood of the day.
GN8P: On your blog there is a video of you shuffling back and forth to tango or perhaps salsa (?) music – what made you perform this skit?
AYŞEN: It was a hot Summer day in my studio, and a playlist of my favorite tunes were shuffling in the background, when Plena For My Grundle by Garage a Trois started to play I got up and started to move back and forth with each chorus. We could say it was the composition of the song that prompted those moves.
GN8P: I’ve never heard of Garage a Trois but I’m totally going to download some tunes – really fun music! Now, moving on to your work: What would you say are your favorite mediums or materials you use the most? Why do you gravitate towards these materials?
AYŞEN: The piece or the series defines its own medium really. Though in general I like inconspicuous materials that keep the focus on visual expression rather than the material itself.
GN8P: I noticed that you tend to work with relatively muted/toned-down palette with the exception of a few bold pops of color. What interests you in this combination?
AYŞEN: Tonal dynamics. Contrast allows me to express a lot, without saying much.
GN8P: Are your most recent paintings painted on wood, canvas or aluminum?
AYŞEN: The Subtraction Series are painted on wood panels. I like how wood tolerates me.
GN8P: Which two artists would you say inspire you the most in your artistic vision and aesthetic?
AYŞEN: I am deeply moved by Francis Bacon and John Coltrane.
GN8P: What is your biggest challenge right now as an artist?
AYŞEN: We live in a time where information circulates faster then ever. The amount of verbal and audio-visual intake we receive in a day is overwhelming, which I love. Rather than isolating myself, I prefer to be fully connected. However, to be able to create something unique, one needs to hear what one’s inner voice is saying despite all this noise.
GN8P: Any goals you are trying to achieve in the near future?
AYŞEN: I do not have big goals. I like to live one day at a time. Today’s goal is to have a productive day and hopefully the outcome would be worthy.
All Photographs Taken by Ayşen Orhon Unless Otherwise Noted.