"Self-portrait with parrots by Birsen Ozbilge (ACEO painting with acrylic)"
Hello all, welcome to Part 2 of of a a series of interviews where I chat with fellow printmakers called Printmakers Unite!
I think you amazing people have been waiting long enough (nearly a year) for the next interview, which for this part is with the talented Birsen Ozbilge!
Bonfire Cherry: Thanks for allowing me to interview you, how are you today?
Birsen Ozbilge: Thanks Matthew, I am fine here from my studio having a nice day in Gran Canaria
BC: *Looks up location on google* Looks amazing where you live! I’m good thanks just in my studio in Northampton, England
How long have you been doing linocut printing for?
BO: I’m located in the Atlantic Ocean close to Africa but still in the same time zone as you. I haven’t been doing linocut not for very long, my first linocut was in 2005.
Later, I took a break I don’t know why and in 2015 I started again
BC: Wow that’s interesting, I first tried linocut in college around 2007 and then started Bonfirecherry with it around 2013. Can you remember what your first design was?
BO: If that’s what you mean, I first made linocuts in first grade with potatoes J
BC: Yummy, never tried printing with potatoes well possibly as a child but can’t remember much. Can’t go wrong with some flowers.
BO: Oh yes, those were fun times… Well my first real linocut was a dream scene of an exhibition hall.
BC: Love it!
Speaking of exhibitions, is there any exhibitions that you have visited that have been your favourite?
BO: Yes about several years ago, I visited a M.C. Escher exhibition in Madrid. It was amazing, he was a meticulous artist as a printmaker
I just remembered that I visited shortly after I created my first linocut
BC: Quite jealous! Around 2007/8 I went on a family cruise to Bruges in Belgium and I had a choice of experiencing Belgium chocolate or visiting a Salvador Dali exhibition.. being the art lover that I am I choose the exhibition which did turn out to be very interesting.
BO: I would go for the chocolate, Belgium chocolate is yummy. Dali is fine too!
BC: I would have to agree with you, if I could go back in time I would choose the chocolate haha
Are there any artists what inspire you?
BO: Not really, I passed that phase I think. I get inspired by nature and daily living habits, talks or music.
BC: Same I get inspired by Japanese manga/anime, music & anything that attracts my attention in books.
BO: In the past about 25 years ago I used to get inspired by “Die Brücke” (The Bridge) which is a group of German expressionist artists.
BC: That’s interesting as linocut printing started in Germany
BO: Yes, I know that! Thanks, this was from 1996 an oil pastel.
BC: Can’t go wrong with a good old oil pastel. I’m good at any other medium part from painting, never been good!
BO: It never fails, since the first grade or even earlier.
BC: If you won the lottery and could buy any famous pieces of art, what would it be?
It will sound silly but I must tell you it would be a problem for me to protect the artwork at my place which would be very stressful. I wouldn’t go for any nonsense auction piece. Not thinking that I would win the lottery but if I had that kind of luxury, I would love to have a Bernard Buffet print.
BC: I think it would cost more for the security than the art thinking about it, wouldn’t it?
BO: It’s true!
I wouldn’t chance my life style for another.
BC: To answer my own question, I would love to own Roy Lichtenstein’s “Whaam!”
BO: You should check it out Buffet’s prints by the way, they are very good.
BC: Will do after the interview
BO: We used to have one poster from him, they look like posters anyway...
BC: I did have some posters in my bedroom/studio for a while but can’t remember what happened to them. The only thing I have on my wall now is a 2017 wall planner.
Do you do fairs or events that you show off your art at?
BO: Yes, I used to do them all, but frankly I am living so far from all that and have no energy anymore. It’s good for experience and if you live in the big cities that’s OK. I was in the International Art Fair in Istanbul a few years ago. I do solo shows on my local island. My last one was 3 years ago in the University of Las Palmas Art Gallery.
As you think you have seen from me, I like to attend craft fairs every now and then
BO: I love what you’re doing and I know that’s a lot of hard work. You built a career that way.
You must admit that England is a great place for art too.
BC: All the best people in art, music and film come from England ;)
BO: Yes, I don’t know why they failed in the kitchen J
BC: Haha yes, well there is the Full English Breakfast
BO: That’s one of my favourite! Even though I am from Istanbul originally
The last question I can think of for this wonderful interview is, what is your most favourite print you have ever produced?
BO: Well that is difficult to choose from between 20 pieces of linocut. If I must choose one, this is the one I would pick.
BC: That’s amazing, I’ve got so many to choose from but for me it must be this print
BO: The print Is the view from my friend’s kitchen. Again, it’s a dream scene, this time from my upcoming cookbook “Kitchen Stories”
BC: Amazing how we get inspired by our dreams isn’t it?
BO: That’s a fantastic print!
I love old cameras, very nostalgic…
BC: Thank you!
BO: It takes encouragement and time for things to come true wish you the best of luck Matthew.
BC: Thank you and I like to wish you the best of luck too!
I think on that note, I like to say thank you very much for allowing me to interview it’s been so much fun!
BO: Thanks, it was a pleasure to chat with you, have a great week!
It was a pleasure chatting to Birsen Ozbilge, her website is currently getting updated but you are able to find more about her by checking out her blog which you can do so here
Thanks for reading!