< Light Millennium: "I strived for improving myself without knowing why" An inverview with Alkim Serbest, by Bahar BESOL
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Alkim SERBEST
"I strived for improving myself without knowing why"

An interview by Bahar BOSEL

My main goal is to work as an animator or a modeller at the Pixar Animation Studios and then establish my own animation company. I really want this and I believe I will do it. I have great projects and scenarios in my mind. I don't expect anybody to believe this. I am only 27 now, and I know it's not late. I don't know if you would find it strange, but I already began to choose the people I would like to work with in my animation company in the future. We will see what happens.

Illustrations by Alkim SERBEST

- When and how did you start drawing?

- I was three years old when I started drawing. I used to draw things everywhere—on the walls, paper, tables, everywhere you can think of. I don’t remember how I started at all, in fact nobody does. Nobody in my family has ever seen me during the process of drawing. They only saw what has been drawn. Actually, when I think of it now, it’s strange that I draw without showing it to anybody while I’m in the process. If somebody wants to see it, I show it to him/her after I finish it; I never say “come and see what I drew” to people. I think it’s a habit from my childhood.

- What did you first draw?

- Right, I don’t think I have mentioned that. I’ve been told that I had first drawn a rabbit and the island of Cyprus. My mom had kept them for a long time. But they too got lost in time. It’s different now; I keep everything I draw. They are crammed in boxes here and there at home. From time to time, when I get bored, I take them out and look at them.

- Did anybody encourage you to draw?

- Frankly speaking, no one told me “Look Alkım, you’re very talented; spend some time on it.” People knew that I drew well, but nobody made any comments on it since drawing was not one of the recognized professions of the time. Upon my family’s will, I enrolled to study literature, but I did not continue since I did not like it. I used to go and draw at the cultural centers instead of attending the classes. I strived for improving myself without knowing why.

In Turkey, it is considered that an artist cannot earn a living. I think, you cannot earn a living neither in Turkey nor in the world if you only stay limited to what you have studied at school and do not channel yourself to other areas. Art is a very ungrateful occupation; if you take some time out of it, you harm yourself, your drawing regresses, and the ones around you who make use of your talent suddenly forget what you have done in the past and start looking for other things.


- What do you feel when you’re drawing and what do you do to improve your drawing?

- I always draw with love and passion; I never said  "I am bored of it," not even once. On the paper, you can see everything that I felt while I was drawing. I exercised in many ways to improve my drawing and I still do. Because there is no end to it. At first, I would not want to get out of my drawing teachers' room; it would feel like drawing just to talk with them. It made me very happy to hear new things about something that I loved. Even now, it gives me a great joy to hear a comment on art, to read an article about art, or to visit an art exhibition.

I took a few courses on drawing. There, they retold things from the academics' point of view which I have already discovered years ago. However, I cannot say that I did not make use of them. And there is a place I have been attending for a long time where I learned so many things. Think of a place where everybody in the family is an artist— it’s that kind of a place. It is the School of Caricature in Istanbul which functions since 1996 and is supported by the municipality. This is a place where the participants are either new beginners of drawing or others who are very experienced. And of course there is a teacher: Ahmet Kesgin, a cartoonist who helps us in every way for a long time. He is one of the artists who could survive despite the concept of art in Turkey. I thank him here in the name of all of my friends.

- How did you start 3D animation?

I started 3D animation because of a friend of mine. It was something I had in my mind for a long time, but I did not know how to concentrate on it. It’s been more than three years now and I have come quite a long way. I learn new things every day. 3D animation is a very different concept; there is no other joy like it: to see the things you draw on paper running around, saying things to you or even smiling at you. And if you’re the one who animated it; there’s nothing like it!

- Do you have a specific goal for the future in 3D animation?

- I have a few goals in the near future. First, I would like to get an education abroad, it doesn’t matter if it’s short or long term. Unfortunately there is not such an opportunity in Turkey. Either having a scholarship or not, I would like to do this in accordance with my goals. I need such an education process to achieve my main goal.

My main goal is to work as an animator or a modeller at the Pixar Animation Studios and then establish my own animation company. I really want this and I believe I will do it. I have great projects and scenarios in my mind. I don’t expect anybody to believe this. I am only 27 now, and I know it’s not late. I don’t know if you would find it strange, but I already began to choose the people I would like to work with in my animation company in the future. We will see what happens.

- Since you are doing the both, do you consider yourself as an animator or an illustrator?

I, too, ask myself this question from time to time, but my profession will be animation in a few years.

- Finally, what do you suggest to people talented for drawing or interested in animation?

I would say, concentrate on it if you really like to draw. Maybe you don't have the talent, but art is such a wide concept; you will definitely find something that fits you. Ask for the support of your family at every opportunity. Even if you don't get an academic education, don’t give up; continue to draw and search for it.

Animation, on the other hand, is a very different concept. I think, you cannot do 3D animation or modelling if you don't have the talent for drawing. Additionally, it requires great effort and work. You have to free yourself from the concept of time. At the moment, because of my job, I draw during the day and work on animation at nights. My eyes are always red and I see blurry. It will change into doing animation day and night. I think it is sufficient only to aim for it!

- Thank you Alkim.

I thank the Light Millennium for giving me this opportunity and I wish for their continuing success which they have gained in a short period of time.

_ . _

E-mail to: alkimserbest@hotmail.com

   
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