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I Think I Am Part Of The Old School Aesthetic. Selen Özus interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 08.07.2020
Selen Özus Selen Özus
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2020
Selen Özus. Brooch: Untitled, 2011. Porcelain, Iron. 10 x 7 x 5 cm. Photo by: Umut Töre. From series: As. Selen Özus
Brooch: Untitled, 2011
Porcelain, Iron
10 x 7 x 5 cm
Photo by: Umut Töre
From series: As
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Contemporary jewellery is, unfortunately, a very small world. It is really hard to sell work. If someone wants to be a jewellery designer, I think this person must have another job to make money. Especially in Turkey, it is even harder. I continue because I have the passion to make work. This is something that I need for myself. Contemporary jewellery is very important for me to express myself.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewellery?
I am the child of a mother who is an art teacher and a father who takes photography. My parents have always loved to create. This played an important role in my artistic progress. I used to draw since I was little. I always needed to create something. 

I graduated from the Ceramics and Glass Design Department in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul. One day, one of my professors, asked us to design a piece of jewellery made by porcelain. I enjoyed it so much, I was so happy. I started to create my first collection. It was the time when I decided to focus on jewellery. After finishing college, I realized that I did not want to make large ceramic works and sought ways to learn to work with metal.

I did an internship in the workshop of Ela Cindoruk and Nazan Pak who recommended me to go to Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence, and I went there. I studied at the school for 3 years. I always feel very grateful for having professors, especially Lucia Massei and Doris Maninger who supported me. We founded Maden Contemporary Jewellery Studio in 2011 with Burcu Büyükünal whom I met in Ela Cindoruk and Nazan Pak’s workshop. We still continue to teach in our studio. I think it is a very nice feeling to exhibit artwork on our body. I think that's what keeps me in this business.


Brooch: Untitled, 2016, Porcelain, gold, 9 x 6.5 x 3 cm, Photo by: Umut Töre, From series: The Closest


How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
The most important thing for me is to create good work. When I present my work, I think you do not need to self - promote. It spreads by word of mouth, like in the old times. I think it's very important to meet with other artists doing this job. Attending fairs, workshops, etc... Sharing experiences, supporting each other. Because we are a very small community. I think it is also very important to apply for the contests for building a network.

I am sure that social media events are important for visibility, but for me, the work is essential. My thoughts on social media are really complicated. I think seeing so much work online damages the experience of the artwork by loss of perception. By the way, I use it too. I'm drifting with the tide. I feel like I have to use social media, but how good is this is a question to me.


What are your general thoughts on the contemporary jewellery world, (education, market, development ...), where do you see chances and where are dead ends?
Contemporary jewellery is, unfortunately, a very small world. It is really hard to sell work. If someone wants to be a jewellery designer, I think this person must have another job to make money. Especially in Turkey, it is even harder. I continue because I have the passion to make work. This is something that I need for myself. Contemporary jewellery is very important for me to express myself.

It seems to me that there will be changes in the way you express yourself with jewellery you wear and in aesthetics. I don’t believe jewellery will ever die. The proliferation of very cheap industrial jewelry creates a demand to buy them. People prefer buying 10 pieces rather than 1. So, a number of consumers and variety grow up. It is getting harder and harder for us to sell our works. But there are also young people who like our works and love wearing them. These people cannot afford it. I hope that they will not lose interest in the future.


Thinking about your career, what role do technology and digital play in your artistic development & communication?
I think I am a part of the old school aesthetic. I just try to keep up with the technology and take whatever I need from it. I do not prefer using new technologies in my works. I enjoy touching my materials with my hands and I like to have full control of my works. Currently using digital technologies is just alienating to me.


How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
I love working with porcelain and I have increased my experience in this field for the past few years. I started to do works in which I use less metal and more porcelain. Of course, this can change later. Nowadays, I believe the most important thing for me is to create works without expectations, thinking much less about selling the work or being approved by people. I have realized that this gives me more freedom. Family, friends, flowers, light, skin, love, life, food, music, film, coffee, water, air, breath, soil, humanity, all of these affect me.

Because of COVID, everything seems to be changing, values and priorities are changing. Let's see how this strange sense of uncertainty and curiosity will change us...
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