Can you tell us a bit about you?
I’m a Turkish/British artist who was born in Turkey in 1966, lived in the capital city Ankara, until I was 27 years old. While in Turkey I worked in tourism sector but art was always on the side as a hobby since childhood.
How did you find your voice as an artist?
After my marriage to a UK citizen and when his work finished in Turkey, we moved to London. Our daughter Sarah was born shortly after. I wanted to be with her and take care of her by myself, especially in her early years. I did draw loads and learnt how to use computer graphic programs in the spare times I had. When she was three years old and wanted to go to nursery, I wanted and had the time to enrol to a Fine Art Foundation With Computer Graphics Course for a year. After completing the foundation course and with my tutors positive inputs about my work, I applied and got into City & Guilds London Art School to do a BA Fine Art, Painting course.
Seagulls © Dilek O’Keeffe
4 years on and after graduating from collage I was selected as one of the “Best of New British Graduates” in 2002 by Beatrice Royal Public Gallery. The following year one of my works was selected for the Royal Academy Summer Show, which got international attention as well as interviews – from Rolling Stone to the BBC. Since then I have been a practising artist joining art fairs, community projects national and international shows regularly.
When working on a new project, what are the first steps you do?
For me art is for all to appreciate. I find it most rewarding when I turn an idea into an art work. I first think about how and what is the best medium to pass it on to viewers. I tend to create different imagery and genres in parallel rather than work in series. As a result you can see abstract figurative art, city scenes, portraits, computer generated 3D works, animations and collages in my portfolio.
St Paul London © Dilek O’Keeffe
Do you have favourite materials to work with?
When I paint I generally use oils on canvas or metal, depending on the concept, I sometimes add other materials to create mixed media works. I also use computers and photography extensively either as sketching tools or in their own right.
happiness © Dilek O’Keeffe
Do you have a vision of what your artistic future could look like?
Mostly I get inspired from contemporary life and visual media. Gerhard Richter, M.C.Escher, Chirico, Rene Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol and Sarah Lucas are some of the the artists I do look up to and hope one day to make a name as well known as theirs in the art world. My vision is, by working hard, enjoying and creating more and more questioning, meaningful artworks I will receive the attention to my work and archive my goal.