Painting, Music, Poetry and
My Daughter Elif Maya...
Interview with Omer Muz on Watercolor Paintings
MUZ is preparing for a new exhibition in New York
on his passionate theme, Istanbul. The
exhibition will open on October 28 and
will closed on November 21, 2003 at the
Turkish Culture & Tourism Gallery (46 Street
& 1st Avenue)in Manhattan. Sabati
KARAKURT made below interview with the artist
in Istanbul, and it never published previously.
this interview, we like to introduce you Omer
Muz's approach to Istanbul, art, and life.
- I realize that watercolor painting is quite a difficult task which
needs a lot of care and patience and I would like to know
what would be the aesthetic worry for you in painting
your works? What do you feel when depicting the nostalgia
from our childhood in your Istanbul paintings? I guess
what I really am trying to say is that there is a certain
level of sadness in your paintings but despite the sadness,
we still can't hold back from falling in love with Istanbul
again in looking at your paintings. Could you please tell
us a bit more about the streets of your childhood? It
looks as if the sadness just comes from your heart and
is expressed in your watercolors!
- You are absolutely right!.. Sadness is an integral
part of my paintings, because it is nourished by the screams
of my childhood and memories which were destroyed by force..and
it is so sad that the sun shines on each morning on the
destroyed and broken beauties. This is to me, the biggest
betrayel which the mankind can do to the places which
it lives in..and, while everyone takes part in such unfaithful
act, I try my best to stay out and be as honest as I can..
I live through the nostalgia not in the philosophical
sense, but in the deepest oceans of sadness. As for the
aesthetic worry, I tend to have the light wander around
in a romantic fashion in the different parts of the painting
without demolishing the nature of the form, but only by
mixing the impressionist view with the documentary taste.
As for my shades, they just stand out as an important
aspect to hide the ugliness and the sulky faces.
- It is as if you follow in the
footsteps of the compass of light and shade in your paintings.
Without bringing much of an abstract view to objects and
places where the natural light is omitted, you give us
tastes arising from the togetherness of the known relationship
between water and color. You applause the purity of nature
while at the same time you express the poetic nature of
your paintings. My question is: Your fine brush effects
leave poetic tastes. I am thrilled about this and I ask
whether you have interest in poetry too? Or you also come
from a deep loneliness?
- As you know, an artist is one who keeps alive
in his/her soul all branches of art. Poetry is one of my hidden parts which is suppressed or
even supervised and which I am hesitant to bring to light.
But I want it to stay as a friend who shares my moments
full of thoughts.
In this respect, I also get along well with music.There are four
things in my world which basically nourish my existence
in this world: painting, music, poetry and my daughter
Elif Maya… as for loneliness, one can still be lonely
and loneliness can not be shared.
I have never seen a world like
the one which we live in. It is cries, blood and pain
all over the places. I am not a hopeless individual but
I guess I am a bit pessimist. One is appalled in observing
how notions like art and artist are constantly being abused
and how much credit is given to the works which have very
little quality in them. When do you think that the media
will finally start to pay off on its indebtness of loyalty
to the true atrists? Unbelievable paradoxes are taking
place. A general tastelessness is all over the places.
How do you perceive the concept of art and artist in our
society where non-quality is so much rewarded?
-Well, we are part of a generation of a new Republic. Is is not
an easy task for art and artist to establish themselves
as respectable institutions in a society. The effort and
the struggle shown in the last 80 years have given pre-mature
birth to the art and the artist and as unable to complete
their natural course of maturity, they have become the
victims of general erosion of values in the society.
In this day and age, the notions of art and artist are offerred
to the viewer in a form which has very liettle substance
in it. The society is constantly being exposed to the
loss of culture and the acquired values and furthermore
this is expressed as a virtue. What is even worse is that
the media plays the instrumental role in achieving this.
I also want to learn your thoughts
on the Turkish painting. For example, would you say that
the Turkish painting is recognized to have accomplishments
at the international level? Or, should I say, do Turkish
artists earn the respect they deserve? What would you
say about the triangle of the art gallery, artist and
- They would have to allocate us the entire publication
if I start to talk about the Turkish painting and its
current standing. It is a rather a long subject. However
as I can see from the local media and the art publications,
a number of Turkish painters are accomplishing works which
are internationally recognized. Anyone who watches the
local TV channels can easily see the value given to the
art and artist. Where else can one see a media which has
turned so much of its back on the art and artist?? To
me, the triangle of the gallery owner, artist and the
buyer is a happy environment where the artist has the
opportunity to bring his/her work to the appreciation
of the buyer.
Let me ask my sharpest question! "
is a means of offense and defense against the enemy. What
do you think an artist is? Do you think a painter is a
stupid who only has eyes and the musician is the one with
ears only? The artist is the one who is always lively
and can react
" For instance, Picasso! How do
you evaluate his accomplishments?
- I fully respect
and agree with Picasso
He is a brave artist who
has stood against the totalitarian regimes in the name
of art, peace and humanity, and became a symbol of rebellion.
I consider him as a genius who has created "cubism"
and depicted the ruthless face of the World War II in
Omer Muz 2) Elif Maya, daughter of the artist
of Omer MUZ
in Istanbul in 1957, Omer Muz went through his secondary
education in the same city. He has started his career
as a graphic artist and cartoonist in various media
institutions.In subsequent years, he has drawn cover
illustrations and comic strips for various foreign publications.
He has prepared the posters for many Turkish films in
the 1980's. Following his short trip to Italy in the
early 1990's he began concentrating his works on watercolor.
The artist, having paintings in some private collections
in California, Paris and Vienna, demonstrates a strong
watercolor technique along with an impressionist style.
In his paintings Omer Muz reflects with his brush, warm
depictions of a grand city like Istanbul which is a
world cultural heritage and belongs to the mankind with
its unique historical texture. He paints the old houses
in Sultanahmet, Balat and within the old city walls,
the streets in Zeyrek, the boats in the Golden Horn,
all of which are reflections from his childhood and
symbolizes the authentic texture of Istanbul.
He follows the school of artists such as Hoca Ali Riza,
Uskudarli Cevat and Hikmet Onat, all of whom are considered
to be the pioneers of the Turkish impressionist artists.
Omer Muz is a member of the Kadikoy Artists Society.
He has a daughter named Elif Maya Muz. Currently he
works in his own studio in Istanbul and holds periodic