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Artist Timur Ülker


Timur Ülker

Timur was born in Turkey. He is largely a self-taught artist who started his education in art and history, later studying under a number of mentors before opening his own studio. For inspiration, he draws on his travels throughout Turkey and Europe.

One of his favorite subjects is Istanbul, whether in the form of vendors on Eminönü Pier, or crowds outside Hagia Sofia. To him, painting is a means of indelibly freezing a static moment in time. But he also sees painting as a means of depicting the passage of time, and with it, the arrival of change. Sometimes the places change, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the people change - or they disappear, as new generations take their place. It’s all unnoticeable unless one looks carefully or records it with art - whether in the form of painting or photography.

In terms of capturing the static, Timur thinks of things like the impressive windows of Haydarpaşa Train Station. These magnificent portals that flood the majestic waiting areas with natural light look much the same today as they did in the 1930s, when people rushed to catch trains pulled by coal-burning steam locomotives. The locomotives may be electric now. The fashionable dress hats worn by women and men of the day may have given way to leisurewear. But the towering ceilings and panes of brightly stained glass have not changed. It is through our art that we preserve these things.

And in terms of art being a vehicle to record change, Timur recalls youthful memories of 50 years ago, buying cigarettes as a teenager from street vendors on Galata Bridge. Those vendors and the people who bought their cigarettes are gone today, just as scenes of smoking in Turkish cinema are all but gone now. This is part of the change of our world. While the delicate latticework of Galata Bridge’s handrails is still there, together with the familiar diesel fumes of ferries, gone are street vendors yelling “Samsun” or “Maltepe” to let people know what brand of filter cigarettes they were selling.

Gone are the sounds of Ajda Pekkan and Zeki Müren echoing on the eight-track players of distant taxi cabs. That warm, fuzzy, laidback world where a glass of raki was never too far away is also gone today. Change and vitality are evident everywhere. Ambitious people briskly walk by, speaking into headsets while multitasking other things at the same time on the touchscreens of their smartphones.


. Towntalk

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