An exclusive interview, introducing his latest work on Skull Town
We got a sneak peek into the life of the Istanbul based artist, Ali Gulec, who is most commonly known for his wide selection of skull designs and artwork which aims to question certain stereotypes. His work circulates not only around the web, but is also featured in well-known magazines, galleries and museums around the world, printed on clothing and many international brands also seek his assistance in design creation. Don’t be surprised that big fans of Ali’s work like to create a more permanent remembrance of his designs and go straight for a tattoo!
When Ali isn’t too busy with his design agency “ikiiki”, he provides caseable with amazing artwork that proved to be stunning on all cases and is popular among all. If you like to know more about Ali’s life and where his creativity comes from, keep on reading our interview we prepared for you!
What does being an artist mean to you? Give us a brief breakdown of what a typical day is like as Ali Gulec the artist?
In fact, I still don’t see myself as an artist. Since my childhood, I’ve been drawing, sketching, illustrating. I always used to be like this and never meant to create something for “art”. I just did it because I enjoyed it. I’m professionally making T-shirt designs for many well- known brands which are mostly in Europe. It’s generally a fun job, but when I’m bored I start making illustrations just for myself.
Have you always wanted to work as an artist and graphic designer? What was your childhood dream profession?
Before I was able to draw a line, I always dreamed of being a superhero like Superman. But when I started using a pencil, I knew what I’d be.
What’s the most influential experience you’ve had that may have had an impact on your work, past or present?
One day when I was in high school, I was scratching figures on my desk with a sharp razor. One of the senior students saw the drawings and asked me to show my works to a well known comics magazine in Istanbul. I went there next week and my works were chosen. That day I learnt that you can make money by drawing.
In your work you frequently portray the skull design. What does it mean to you and why has it become one of your recurring symbols?
I was a big fan of metal music once, and I always made posters of imaginary bands. Skulls were the must have elements of course, and I guess that’s how skulls entered my life.
How did the idea come around for your newest piece Skull Town? How do you decide which elements to form your skulls from?
The Skull Town idea was something that was in my mind for a very long time. It’s a reflection of the image that occurs in my mind when I think of the fairy tales I heard as I was a kid. A place that you wish it was real, but you know you can see it only if you’re in a fairy tale or a dream.
Do you have a favorite artist that you always looked up to or that might have inspired you?
Maurits Cornelis Escher. I can’t say I’m inspired by him, but to me, he’s the greatest artist ever.
Music and art are universal languages that unite people from all walks of life. Does music ever inspire your work? If so, what music genre, album or artist is inspiring you right now?
Nowadays, I’m inspired more by lyrics or anonymous quotes than music.
You know we’re partly based in Brooklyn and Berlin, two booming artistic and stylish cities in the world. If you had to choose…which would it be, Brooklyn or Berlin and why?
Berlin has great street art going on, so I think my choice is Berlin.
If you could give your 17-year old self one word of advice, what would it be?
Click here to discover more of Ali Gulec's designs.