Although he did not receive a formal education in art, Hasan Aycın is one of the most interesting artists in Turkey and has developed a unique style with his drawings of the past 30 years.
Titled “Çizgizar” (Drawing Garden), Aycın’s newest collection is currently on view at İstanbul’s Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall. The exhibition, brought together by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality and marking the artist’s 30th year in art, is made up of 128 drawings.
The drawings in the exhibition, in which Aycın depicts trees, birds, mountains, the sky and a bald little man with eyes in the shape of a dot, altogether make up a “drawing garden,” as the title of the collection indicates. The works featured in the show are going to be published as an album together with another upcoming album by the artist about the Esma-ul-Husna (The 99 names of God). Aycın has published eight albums so far and has compiled his writings in five books, including two novels.
Aycın’s newest collection is on view at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall. The drawings in the show, in which Aycın depicts trees, birds, mountains, the sky and a bald little man with eyes in the shape of a dot, altogether make up a ‘drawing garden’
The first thing he drew was a human figure, the Balıkesir-born Aycın recalls during an interview with Today’s Zaman. “I was not even going to school yet. We were sitting in front of the fireplace silently in our house in the small town with my parents. My dad gave me a piece of paper from his notebook that he carried in the inside pocket of his vest with a tiny pencil.
When mom saw the drawing, she got worried and said, ‘What are you going to do if these drawings ask you to enliven them in the afterlife?'” Aycın added that his mother’s concern never held him back but that he always felt it in his heart. “I mean, I got my first lesson from my mother. For years and years I have drawn here and there. I could not walk until the age of 8, but I drew,” he says.
His first work, featuring two ladybugs rolling the world, was published in the Yenidevir newspaper in 1978. Without doubt, he had the advantage of a unique style, and whatever he used to draw got published in magazines and newspapers such as Zaman, Yeni Şafak, Mavera, Aylık Dergi, Gül Çocuk, Mavi Kuş, İslâm, Kadın ve Aile, Inquiry, Kardelen and Yedi İklim. “Nobody told me what to draw in my life. My drawings are published on a full page all the time and I’ve never had to ask for my drawings to be published; I always received requests to send them,” says Aycın.
Like veteran poet İsmet Özel said in the preface of Aycın’s first drawing compilation book, “Bocurgat” (Winch), published in 1989, his drawings are not simple caricatures but “a struggle to reach beyond the drawing through drawing.”
His career evolved in a natural way, Aycın explains. “I did not receive an education in fine arts. I chose cultural and literature magazines rather than cartoon magazines. While I drew for newspapers, I tried to avoid the daily discussions,” he says, adding that he also avoided sending his works to competitions. “I did not set out on this path to become a cartoonist or a drawer. While there are millions of issues of humanity that also affect my life, I could not have undertaken the problems of drawing,” he says, underlining that what he did was talk about the issues of humanity stemming from the ones he encountered personally.
Aycın’s drawings consist of layers of philosophical, political or emotional meaning, apart from just being drawings. Asked how he decides to draw one of them, the prolific artist explains that generally the subject itself pushes him to draw it. “Most of the time, if I don’t draw that subject, I can’t find peace. Sometimes this can be a very limited period while sometimes it lasts for months or years. As of late I’ve begun taking notes on ideas about new drawings since I don’t have time to draw whenever the idea comes. If I do not write them down, most of them evaporate in time.”