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    Zeynep Boyan

    Zeynep Boyan

    1. Where were you born and where are you from ?

    I was born in the south of Turkey, a city called Adana. I lived in Turkey, Belgium and currently reside in Montreal, Canada.

    2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?

    I remember the first sketches I made when I was a kid. I was interested in the placement of the objects and furniture in my bedroom and how moving each piece around would change the atmosphere of the whole space. I would draw these objects (my bed, wardrobe, table etc.) on paper and try different placements as if they were pieces of a puzzle. This was some sort of a game I enjoyed playing tremendously. If I liked how things looked together on paper, I wouldn’t hesitate to lift them up and change their placement by myself. It wasn’t a surprise for my parents to find my bedroom rearranged from time to time.

    3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?

    After studying cinema in Istanbul, I worked in tv channels, freelance tv & cinema projects and local and international advertising agencies. Even though I would like to think that these experiences led me to my journey in art & design, they were mostly products of a commercial perspective.

    4. What led you to the design creation ?

    I was always fascinated by the objects that surrounded me. Being interested in this by nature and being born in a family where our living space was filled with art, antique and contemporary objects, custom handmade furniture, it is hard for me to distinguish what influenced my journey in art and design up to this date.

    5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?

    My current creative process revolves around furniture objects and sculptures. Both are created with the intention to find the beauty, connection, functionality within the everyday objects that surround us. The influences are not linear – I get inspired by a morning walk with my dog, a flavorful homemade dish, a memory or hearing a familiar voice on the phone.

    6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?

    My day starts with a cup of coffee and planning. I work alone by myself in the studio so an early planning session while sipping my morning coffee makes it convenient for me to see what I should expect from myself and what is expected from me on paper. This is followed up with a round of admin work and sessions of solely creating. Ceramics is a physical and labor-intensive process so I try to take breaks after each session to rest my body. This allows me to take a step back, clear my mind and examine the progress.

    7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?

    I was looking for a material that I could engage with – that would give me the opportunity to disrupt in volume, shape and body. Clay was my primary choice by its fluid and plastic characteristics. I also like the fact that clay and I both have a saying in each piece.

    8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?

    Each piece is sculpted by hand using stoneware clay. Even though I use coiling technique 99% of the time, I adopt different techniques in the process if needed. Most of the surfaces are natural – either fired without glaze and textured by hand or coated with underglaze. I often use glazes with an intention to create plaster, marble or stone like surfaces which adds another dimension to my work.

    9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?

    Consistency and self-discipline are the key. These alone won’t provide instant success but they will create a solid foundation to work with. Going to the studio every day, touching the material you are working with, sketching and researching will keep a fresh mind, perspective and connection to work while building a routine.

    10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?

    Even though I don’t believe in titles and like to put my work in boxes, I see them as a reflection of my understanding of what contemporary, modern and abstract art is.

    11. What designers have influenced you ?

    Not only designers but some artists, sculptors and architects that I am drawn to are; Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, Karl Blossfeldt, Hilma af Klint, Gaetano Pesce, Jean Arp, Valentine Schlegel, Constantin Brancusi, Marina Abramovic, Luis Barragan and Salvador Dali.

    12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?

    It’s hard to pinpoint names but there are quite a few that catch my attention.

    13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?

    I am currently very interested in the theory and practice of movement language founded by Ohad Naharin, an Israeli choreographer and contemporary dancer. It is a language through body that resists the foundation of traditional dance techniques and emphasizes the practitioner’s somatic experience. The reason why it is defined as a language rather than a dance technique is that it is based on the interpretation of a series of images described by the tutor who is also a participant of the class. After having the chance to practice it, I find it a genuinely liberating experience as it forces each participant to move beyond the limits while demanding improvisation, expression, exploration and understanding of oneself and their surroundings. It is a deeply inspiring and imaginative practice that moves through and beyond senses.

    14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?

    Abstract and biomorphic pieces sculpted by hand with an utmost attention to detail.

    15. Is there anything you would like to add ?

    Thank you for inviting me to take part in this series of interviews.

    Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
    (The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)

    1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    Finding beauty in simple things.

    2. What is your greatest fear?


    3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

    Over thinking.

    4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

    Lack of empathy.

    5. Which living person do you most admire?

    My parents; Ahmet and Semiha.

    6. What is your greatest extravagance?

    Collecting objects from flea markets.

    7. What is your current state of mind?


    8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

    Being hype.

    9. What is the quality you most like in a man ?

    A mind freed from gender roles, being independent and confident.

    10. What is the quality you most like in a woman ?

    A mind freed from gender roles, being independent and confident.

    11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

    A made-up word of affection shared between me and my husband.

    12. Which talent would you most like to have?

    Speaking the language of my dog, Art.

    13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    Focusing less on what could or should have.

    14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

    Where I am at the moment in life.

    15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

    A hummingbird.

    16. Where would you most like to live?

    Any Mediterranean city.

    17. What is your most treasured possession?

    I have no sense of possession to materials. But I treasure the people in my inner circle profoundly.

    18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

    Not being able to show or receive love.

    19. What is your favorite occupation?

    Cooking for my loved ones and spending time with them.

    20. What is your most marked characteristic?


    21. What do you most value in your friends?

    Listening one another.

    22. Who are your favorite writers?

    Etgar Keret, Etel Adnan, Bruno Munari.

    23. Who is your hero of fiction?

    I don’t have fictional heroes but heroes in real life.

    24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

    I don’t have enough knowledge on a particular historical figure that I can comfortably say that I identify with.

    25. Who are your heroes in real life?

    My grandparents.

    26. What are your favorite names?

    It’s hard to distinguish names from people.

    27. What is it that you most dislike?

    Inequality and suffering in the world we live in not limited to human beings but to all species.

    28. What is your greatest regret?

    Acknowledging that my past shapes my present – I have no regrets.

    29. How would you like to die?

    Peacefully in my sleep.

    30. What is your motto?

    Good things take time. Use the time to put in the effort, appreciate what you already have, show love and appreciation towards yourself and others while enjoying every step of this journey called life.

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