ART FROM WITHIN
A 365 DAYS OF VISUAL DIARY By Esra Kizir Gokcen
With the Covid 19 lockdown, like everybody else, I had to find a sustainable way to keep my art practice active within my limited circumstances. This led me to use sketchbooks more and gave me the idea for this project.
I thought, if I committed to a structured project and shared it on social media regularly as an invitation to all, I could help to build a healing art community.
I chose drawing as my preferred technique because it is the essential for all visual art forms and is possible to achieve with simple and affordable materials. I also offered drawing tutorial videos for people who were interested in improving their art skills. The first days of the challenge were mostly built around this concept, giving samples of observational drawings with a touch of wit.
Posting my visual dairy was awkward in the beginning. As I went along, I started feeling more comfortable and confident about sharing my personal journey through my drawings.
Another motivation for this project was my 50th birthday. It wasn’t so far away, and I wanted to celebrate my new milestone through my art to give back to society. Art is a great healer, and in this time of global pandemic, we needed all that we could do to help each other.
Over the last 3–4 years, I have been listening to mindfulness teachings to gain a wider perspective of life. It has been a real period of learning and growing awareness. All these learnings made me a new person with a calmer and warmer heart towards everyone, and especially towards myself.
Drawing while listening to spiritual teachings and podcasts offered a semi-meditative space for me to create, and this started to take over my topics along the way. Somehow, I became a channel for the creation of the drawing, just letting it happen through me.
Gaining awareness of our connection to nature even more deeply and appreciating the magic of trees, I started using tree figures in my drawings more than ever. Trees became a spiritual symbol in my art just like they were in indigenous cultures. They inspired me as an artist and healed my lockdown blues. Emphasizing the importance of all beings, I tried to draw humans as small as possible instead of the norm of putting them at the top of the hierarchy among all life forms.
Rather than a normal approach of creating my works around a single concept, my daily theme has changed according to my mood and personal agenda of the day, because one of the very important aims of this project was the bravery of being open and feeling the healing power of art through that openness.
Art is for sharing!