Ertan Atay, A Witty Collage Artist
When technology meets art and design, it gives rise to talented artists such as Ertan Artay. Following in the footsteps of artists, more precisely painters before him, this graphic designer relies deeply on emotional intelligence to make his work stand out. As a creative, he seeks to leave his audience pondering as he revives the portraits of Van Gogh or the Mona Lisa by adding unexpected features never seen before. In this interview with Ertan Artay, Uyoloconnects discuses the artist's trajectory as well as the elements that refined his craft.
Uyoloconnects: In what ways has graphic design changed from when you first started to now? What about collage that makes it your artistic medium of choice? Is there any other artistic medium that you use as often?
Ertan A.: I had always been interested in visual arts from an early age. I was interested in painting and especially collage. In 1994, when I was just 15 years old, I started doing graphic design on the computer. That means I have been doing graphics and design for 26 years.
Graphic design has also developed in parallel with the digitalization of the world since the day I started it. In the past, there were only limited communication tools such as printed materials (magazine, newspaper, book, poster, billboard etc.). The Internet and the digital world have given us many new areas, especially social media has become the most important of them. Colors, photographs, texts, objects, in short, visuality is the most valuable instrument of the internet and the digital world. And with this digitalization era, the golden age of graphic design started.
Of course, in an age where visuality is so important, art began to digitalize. In 2017, I opened @FailunFailunMefailun account on Instagram and started to share my childhood passion such as collage works and digital works I prepared in different styles, .
Uyoloconnects: Van Gogh features in a lot of your artwork. Is he your favorite artist or is there a deeper story to it?
Ertan A.: First of all, of course I love Vang Gogh's art and works. He is a very important artist and represents a turning point in the history of art. But the other most important reason why I love him is that İ experienced some similar problems just like Van Gogh himself. That's why I have great empathy for him. His dramatic life has always impressed me as much as the fascination of his art. For this reason, I prefer to reflect him as happily as possible rather than dramatically in my works.
Uyoloconnects: I notice you express your point of view in your collages in a satirical manner. What are ways in which you would approach your view of today's world?
Ertan A.: I am so glad you noticed this and asked. Because the priority for me in my work is always idea-oriented. Because I think a good idea is more catchy than a good image. While doing my work, I use a witty language based on this logic. For me, I can say that "every design that attracts attention at first glance and makes you want to look for a second time is special". I love wittiness, as it contains both humor and intelligence. Because laughing is the most powerful language that brings people closer to each other. Why did I say this because today there is a problem of miscommunication and understanding among people. You might think, "In an age where there are many tools for communication, how can a problem like miscommunication exist?”
Actually, the world got smaller and got into our pocket thanks to the internet. We can buy everything we want from there, listen to and watch everything we love, and immediately get information about everything we are curious about. But with the introduction of social media into our lives, we now have access not only to what i have just counted but also to the lives of others. This caused people to compare themselves with others, criticize, race and even marginalize each other.
Today, i think people are moving away from empathy and understanding, which are the basic conditions of living together. We are in a more individualistic and competitive world. With a little more understanding and tolerance, we can actually solve many problems before they grow.
Uyoloconnects: What kind of legacy would you like to leave as an artist and a communicator?
Ertan A.: The coming years will show how permanent digital art would be, which is currently popular right now. But in todays world, where it is easy to alienate someone, I prefer to unite everyone and leave pleasant memories for everyone.
I am a person who advocates that basic human rights should be enjoyed by everyone without the word “but”. In my work, I try to use a humorous language that does not discriminate people (race, religion, gender, etc.). Most of my followers are from different countries, cultures, races and genders. Bringing together such a cosmopolitan structure is really valuable for me. Because I'm showing that completely different people can love and enjoy the same things. This is one of the things I want most.
Uyoloconnects: What has been people's general reactions to your artwork, especially other artists?
Ertan A.: As I said at the beginning, we are in a competitive world, but I have received good reactions from both other artists and people so far. I can say that I have experienced almost nothing negative in the last 3 years, and even experienced many good things. Many celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Sam Smith, Salma Hayek and Ellen Degeneres shared my work, and I had the opportunity to send my work to some of them printed and signed. I received invitations to exhibits from many countries around the world, and again I had the chance to convey my ideas to people by giving interviews to magazines and sites in many different countries of the world.
Uyoloconnects: Give us a bit of you background story. And why graphic desgin?
Ertan A.: I had a Commodore 64 computer in the mid 80's. At that time, when children were using it only for playing games, I used to draw pictures pixel by pixel with the joystick. So designing has been my favorite thing since I was young.
In 98, I entered the advertising industry professionally. For many years, i have been in graphics and design world. During this period, I worked as a graphic designer, copywriter, art director and fashion photographer. From 2007 to 2013, I worked as a Creative Director in the Cinema TV industry, and then I founded my own agency and served many sectors varies from fashion to politics, from construction to FMCG.
If you ask why graphics and design; I would say because it has imagination. Some people say that we lose our imagination because we grew up, but actually we lose our imagination not because we grow up, but because we don't use them. But art keeps the human imagination alive and adds color to life.
By the way, I want to mention that; "For me, the Failun account actually means freedom." It takes me from the real world and puts me in a special world where I am left alone with my imagination. So I can say Failun, with both a great motivation and a design process, is a special meditation for me.
Uyoloconnects: Having worked as a graphic designer in both the corporate world and as your own agency. What’s the fate of an artist in the commercial world versus working as an independent freelancer?
Ertan A.: While I am still creating projects and designs for different brands, I also continue to create designs for Failun. As a designer who has been working home office for many years, I can use the time as I want. This frees me in many issues.
In today's world, many of the old professional habits are now left behind. With the digitalization of the world, people are less obliged to go to offices or similar places. Matter of fact, rise of the digital art lies in the technological possibilities of today. Artists can create many different types of art using technology, and this diversifies art.
The fate of artists, which used to be in the hands of other people, are now in their own hands. Throughout history, the biggest problem of many artists was that they suffered economical difficulties because they could not bring their works to the right people. But today, thanks to the digital world, artists can reach people quickly and sell their works. This both increases the tendency towards art and adds diversity to art today.
Uyoloconnects: Do you have any special projects in the near future?
Ertan A.: Actually, I want to make both a real and a digital exhibition. But it will not consist of the work I have done before, but the special works I will create for that exhibition. Therefore, I have to make a serious planning. I also have a daughter, she is 11 years old now. She is also interested in digital art like me. Her painting and hand skills are very good and she makes digital drawings and I definitely want to make a special project with her.