We have only one WORLD yet! If we destroy it, where else will we go?
Winter 2002: 8th issue - **2nd Anniversary**

M.K. PERKER: "I am sitting at my drawing table as two people:
One is the worker,
the other one is the executive of a holding company"

by Light Millennium

MK Perker is a young, talented and hardworking artist. His works have been published at the most prestigious publications of his country, Turkey, for 11 years.

He is a gifted as well as a self-dedicated artist. He started to work as a cartoonist
and full-time staff at Turkey's leading cartoon magazine "Girgir" during his high school years and kept drawing and drawing since then.

He is known as versatile, he has various styles and uses every kind of media in his works. Most of the time he looks like lost in thought. He is actually lost in his thoughts. I am glad, that he could concentrate on what we have been talking. "I am glad that he took a break from what he does non-stop: Drawing, drawing, drawing....."

M.K.PERKER, "Self-portrait", 2002

- It is not easy to define you. You have graphic novels, editorial cartoons, daily strips and you are also doing illustrations. So you are an illustrator, cartoonist, storyteller and what else?

When I was young, 14 - 15 years old, I was asked what I was going to be when I grew up, my answer was "a painter." However, later I began to be interested in graphic novels, because I was also interested in movies. Then I discovered illustration. If I was living in the middle ages, being a painter would make sense. But now, in 2002, being just a painter seems to me very simplistic. A person who has the ability to draw in the 21st century has to have an interest in cartoons, illustration and comics. Because expressing yourself cannot be just a canvas on the wall. If a person knows how to draw, he has to know all of these.

- Do you mean, in our century "word" or any other way of expression must company drawing.

In a way. This is, for sure, a criterion, which I have figured our for myself. Saying "I am a cartoonist' does not mean anything to me, I find it simplistic. An artist has to be versatile. Because everything in life is versatile. In the 17th century, a painter did not have to leave his house for weeks at a time. When he was walking, he never saw a street lamp. I mean, there was no light, which could cause a different kind of shadow. The same shadows of the same houses. There were no different kinds of costumes. People were not going to stores and buying any other costumes than the ones they were wearing everyday. No TV, no radio. But now, when there are different kinds of sound, light, movie, you cannot say "I only do illustrations."

- What do you think about this change? Would you prefer to live in those days or now?

I, of course, would prefer to live in those days. Living and being an artist now is like to live in a computer game, which has a lot of levels. I'd prefer not to struggle with that much level.

- Do you also mean rivalry by these levels?

No, I have no problem with rivalry.

- I know that you are against to the use of computers in making art works. But on the other hand, you are saying an artist must be versatile.

I do not use computers. I find that works, totally made by computer worthless. Anybody can do that. In fact, using computers in artworks is a common thing only in less developed countries.

Portrait of Sean Penn" Oil on paper "Portrait of Benicio Del Toro" Oil on paper

- Are artists required to follow other artists' works? Does an artist have a duty to make a worldwide investigation?
What do you think on this subject?

One can say that he wants to create his own world without knowing anything about the others, but I think an artist has the obligation of investigating and knowing what's going on in the art world. I am trying to watch closely of other artists. And I really like to do that. It is as exciting as seeing a new movie. How can an artist improve himself just being excited about himself and his own works?

- Some old illustrators say, illustration is not as worthy as it was before. Do you agree?

No, I don't. I think, this is the 2nd golden age of illustration. For a short period of time, during the 80s and the early 90s, illustration lost some value, but now, when you look at the magazines, newspapers, and other publications, you see that they are using a lot of illustrations. At the 1st golden age of illustration, editors were using illustrations, because they had no other choice, there were no photographs. But now, illustrators exist with their own interpretations, which would add the article a second level story. So when you see an article with an illustration, you have two stories now.

- Your illustrations also have their own stories...

There are conceptual illustrators now who put their own ideas and atmosphere in their illustrations. I am one of them and I prefer to create my own atmosphere too.

- I heard that you dogenerally not like your old works, even if they are not too old?

Yes, that's true. Nobody likes his pictures, which were taken 10 years ago. They'd probably not like themselves in those. I think it is the same in fine arts. There are some artists who make the same thing for 15 years. I find it weird.  I find it weird, if they do not think their old works were not good enough and continuing to do the same thing.

- You are famous about your long working hours. How many hours are you working a day?

I work almost all the time when I am awake. And mostly I sleep 6 hours a day. At most.

- Why is that? Because you feel an obligation?

No, it's just because I want it. I feel uncomfortable when I don't work. I feel incomplete if I don't do the thing, which I believe is the reason of my existence. Why should I live if I don't draw or write? I can't cook, I can't fix the TV, I am not even able to change the light bulb of my lamp, but I can illustrate a story or create it. And I feel, I must do that everyday just to make my existence stable. Beside these, when I think professional, I am sitting at my drawing table as two people: One is the worker, the other one is the executive of a holding company. I am planning the things that I want to do in a month. For example I say "I am going to do two children books this year." Then I start to work. I guess this is what makes me different from the other artists. I don't live a bohemian life.

- What is the percentage of your hardwork in your career? And what is the percentage of your gift?

The percentage of the gift is much more for sure, because there is not only the ability of drawing in that gift, the desire to work hard also comes from that gift.

- You are also writing your own stories. You have two graphic novels, which were authored by you. Do you ever think of writing a book?

I can write one day. But in my comic stories I am already using my ability of writing. Do you know Edward Gorey? He is making graphic novels. You can even understand his stories without seeing the drawings actually and like them in that way too, but he is not satisfied by just writing the story I guess. He wants to draw. I feel the same.

- Could you reach your childhood dream?

Before I discovered graphic novels, comic stories, illustrations, when I was a small kid, I liked very much to look at those illustrated encyclopedias. I didn't know that they were illustrations. I thought they were paintings. And I guess I meant to do those when I was telling my parents that I wanted to be a painter one day.

- As an illustrator and cartoonist, your works are always published in newspapers, magazines. You are always a part of media. Do you ever feel tired about that and want to be away from it?

No. I like to be in media. I do the work, give it, have it published, and begin again. I like this circle. If you are doing something for a weekly magazine, after publication of the work, you have a kingdom for one week. But next week, you have to replace that work with a new and better one. Besides, they give you an article, a measurement, and you have to obey that. As you are trying to obey, you are also trying, pushing your limits. I think this is a very good way of training.

- It is said that strange things always happen to storytellers. What about you?

It is the same with me. But I think it is because we are watching the world with eyes wide open. I talk to people, listen to them, try to know deep inside and I take notes about them. And I am writing stories about faces I see on the street, on the subway. This is also a good way of training.

- Do you have a story or a conversation that you never forgot?

When I was 5 or 6, I saw the movie Julius Cesar. That story really had a great influence on me. Later on, I saw that most of the contemporary movies have the same subject. So I began to like the relationship of men, like father and son relationship. Like mentor and apprentice. And I really liked the story of Satan. An angel,  a fired angel. I think that it's one of the best stories ever created.

- What are you most oversensitive about? Your drawings?

No, it is my teeth. My biggest problem from my childhood is my teeth. I believe, if a person has a toothache, he can understand the meaning of life. If he believes in God, he can give up of believing during a toothache. And if he doesn't, he can begin to believe in God.

Detail of the "self-portrait"

M.K.PERKER, (Biography, in Turkish)

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. 8th issue. Winter 2002, New York.
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