Merve Özaslan is an Istanbul based artist who's recently been directing all her energy into composing beautiful collages through which she explores the relation between nature and humanity. The main feature of her work is the unexpected use of selective coloring of black and white vintage photographs by which she creates a parallel narration to the original storyline of the photograph. In Merve's series Natural Act she seamlessly works fragments of vivid nature into various forms of urban elements, bodies, window frames, cars … Don't be surprised if you see a fish under water through the window, a chef peering out of his restaurant with huge daisies fluttering behind him, or an agitated sea surface that replaces a building's facade. The collection seems like a kind of exploration of questions that have arisen due to urbanization, mechanization and our general detachment from the nature. Without any further ado, meet the brilliant Merve!
Hi Merve! It's such a pleasure to have you on Odds & Ends! How are you today, what's on your schedule?
Hi :)! Thank you so much! I feel very good, despite the Istanbul's gloomy weather. I'm just about to do some research regarding the materials for my new collage series.
Did you have any notable artistic influences/role models while you were growing up?
I like to observe. Sometimes I'm impressed by a friend who has a great talent, other times I'm fascinated by a child's imagination. All people, the whole world was and is my inspiration, so I can't give you a specific name. My head is filled with dozens of people that I could name right now!
What is the main drive that keeps your collaging groove on? What is the main source of your excitement about making collages (or inspiration, if you will)?
Making a collage has already become some kind of a habit for me. Sometimes I start with an idea and then search the materials for its story. Sometimes it's enough to just see one single image.
What does your typical day at work look like?
I mostly work as a freelancer, so I don't have a typical working schedule. Sometimes I just spend the whole day looking for new ideas or I just go over those ideas and make them happen. Some days it's just paper and scissors that keep me busy, other days I'm busy at print shop where I'm usually finishing some work.
I've read somewhere that you try to seek answers regarding the connection between nature and humanity through your collages. Do you think that the occurrence of mechanization, urbanization and greed is overall favourable for human or not?
Definitely not favourable. I think that mechanization reduces the human's sensitivity. Being in nature or even viewing some scenes from nature reduces anger, fear and stress and so increases our pleasant feelings.
Considering the whole history of collage, how do you perceive the current state of affairs in this field of art? Is it declining or gaining in popularity and quality?
Social media has taken over everything, so as an artist I can easily find new ways to introduce my work. This is the upside of social media, which can sometimes also lead to a decline in quality.
What are your goals for the future?
I really want to extend the Natural Act series. After some more of those, I'll open an exhibition one day!
If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
If I could collaborate with anyone it would definitely be Andy Warhol.
If your work had a soundtrack, what songs would it consist of?
Bon Iver: Flume.
Find out more about Merve's work on her official page, Tumblr, Behance, 500px and Pinterest. Oh, and you should add her to your Insta feed too! Are you into collages? If yes, who are your favourite artists?