Drawing on Istanbul

exploring Turkey through
Highly Detailed and Captivating Drawings

Trici Venola explores Turkey, a fascinating and dynamic country at the crossroads where East meets West. As an independent artist, she arrived in Istanbul in 1999 after fifteen years in Los Angeles as a pioneer in the exploding computer art industry. She fell in love with Turkey, and in reaction to those years wrestling with the complexities of creating art on computers, she drew it with one drafting pen in a sketchbook. Her love affair with Istanbul involved a divorce, a catastrophic illness, a death, a broken heart and financial ruin. She moved here anyway and started over again from ground zero at the age of fifty.

Trici learned to draw old stone and the people watching her do it. She learned about the Byzantines, the Ottomans, the Turks and ancient Anatolian civilizations. Trici started by celebrating this place and wound up documenting it before it changes forever. She does this through thousands of drawings of the people, architecture, history and culture of Turkey and its neighbors, ultimately crafting a giant multifaceted portrait of this place over the past twenty years.

This website showcases Trici’s body of work, giving you the opportunity to take part in her ongoing exploration. Many of her thousands of drawings have been carefully curated and made available as high-resolution digital downloads. They are available for purchase at reasonable prices.  These meticulously drawn works can be admired onscreen or professionally printed and framed. By buying one or more, you not only have a beautiful elegant and unique asset for to your home, office, or gift, you also become a patron of the arts by supporting the Drawing On Istanbul Project. And we thank you!

Start your journey today and come back often, as this website is a living entity, always changing as more and more of Trici’s artwork and writing become available for your enjoyment.

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Rolling the Boukoleon Bones

“Something in me has always wanted to crouch at the edge of an alien civilization, making art. Just now I’m looking out over dull silver drifts of sea fading into the mist, peppered with minute black birds in an erratic line. The entire bottom

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Ghost Church: Drawing Theotokos in Chalkoprateia

5th century AD: Furious clamor as police descend on Constantinople’s Chalkoprateia, the Bronze District, where Jewish artisans live, creating and selling bronze items. Screaming in outrage, bearded Jews in caps are dragged from their shops, beaten, banished. An earlocked apprentice

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HOT CROSSES: Crusader Graffiti in Hagia Sophia

TWO LEAD CROSSES They’re only visible from a few inches away. Carved  at eye level into the side of a malachite pillar in Hagia Sophia’s lower North Gallery are two thick little crosses side by side. The lead pressed into them

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Title Page from Sketchbook 32, Kingdom of Urartu

In The Kingdom of Urartu

Old friend Celal Ögmen, proprietor of Kalamar Restaurant in Kumkapi in Istanbul, asked me if I’d like to go to Eastern Turkey and draw his mother’s village. As a teenager, Celal came to Istanbul and took a job at a fish restaurant, inveigling tourists

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