NEW WORK, OLD WORK. In 1999 I came to Istanbul for the first time after fifteen years in Los Angeles building computer art. I fell in love. My love affair with Istanbul involved a divorce, a catastrophic illness, a broken heart, financial ruin. I moved here anyway and started over again at ground zero, at the age of fifty. I learned to draw old stone. I learned to draw people while they were watching me do it. I learned about the Byzantines, the Ottomans & the Turks, and ancient Anatolian civilizations. I started by celebrating this place and wound up documenting it before it changes forever. All my thousands of drawings of the people, architecture, history and culture in Turkey are one giant multifaceted portrait of this place over the past 20 years.

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At Magnesia e1547054527277 233x300 - About TriciIN GRATITUDE In 2017, after 18 years drawing this place, I was limping on a stick, stonewalled by my insurance company after trashing both knees in the snow two years earlier. In desperation, I asked a patron to talk to the insurance company. They wouldn’t budge for him either. But then he performed a miracle. He sent me to the best hospital I’ve ever seen. They fixed my knees and treated me like the Valide Sultan, and now I can walk. I am so grateful to this angel, his country and the hospital that I’ve spent the past two years getting all this art from Turkey into shape, reworking the blog, and putting as much as I can up on this site. It’s all I’ve got.

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My Favorite St John’s Capital ©2012 TriciVenola
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1995: Detail from “Pickup at Club Mutant:” digital painting ©TriciVenola

MORE BIO My name, short for Patrice, is pronounced TREE-see. I am indeed a writer and artist living in Istanbul. I used to be a digital painter in Los Angeles, my hometown, which colors everything I do now. This site is about living in Turkey. For years, I resisted anything that meant time on a computer. It’s so addictive, and then there’s my past.

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1986: mouse-drawn clip art with close-up

From 1984-1999 I sat in one spot in the center of the computer revolution, staring into screens, surfing the technology wave, working twice as hard to dodge and surmount all the obstacles a computer puts in the way of creativity, learning how to embrace its double-edged attributes.

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1988: Nothing But Flowers. Mouse-drawn digital painting © TriciVenola

I worked hard to get the stuff into the computer– so many programs, hundreds of thousands of hours– and then equally hard to get it out, as video, prints, moving parts of sculpture. Much of this time was before drawing tablets, sophisticated print systems and the Internet. There were just a handful of us working in the medium. You can see some of the computer art that made such a fuss back in the day here.

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Boukoleon Snow ©2008 TriciVenola

Eventually it all paid off. Beach house in Venice, many friends, good marriage, great Christmas parties. I traded all that for a sketchbook and some drafting pens. I don’t have a “day job.” I survive on my art. I’m not affiliated with any organization or university, and I don’t speak Turkish. It’s like functioning with a large burlap bag over your head. But I draw this irreplaceable place, and the people here know that and love it, so I get along. For years I’ve been doing this project alone–I almost said Alone in the Dark, boo hoo– with the help of a few generous patrons. Angels all. Every single one has contributed mightily to this project. Thank you.

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Los Angeles artist Trici Venola comes from a background of hi-profile digital art creation. From 1984-1999 she was a premier digital artist, lecturer and MacEvangelist. In the early days of the Macintosh, she authored a series of art software programs that raised the industry standard and attracted the attention of clients such as Disney, Apple, Super Mario and Paramount Pictures.

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Alice in Wonderland 4 ©1996 TriciVenola for Disney Interactive.
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Gothic Hotel, Hotel Mario ©1993 TriciVenola for Philips Interactive.

During the changeover to digital art in the entertainment industry, she was asked into the studios to teach their artists how to create art on a computer. She was one of the first digital artists to show her work in galleries. Her digital fine art was featured in magazines including the  premier issue of Juxtapoz.

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Juxtapoz: ‘Screaming Bettie Page’ ©1992 TriciVenola.

In 1999 Venola left the digital world to travel and draw in Turkey. She has been doing it ever since.

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Her stories about Turkey have been published in Tales from the Expat Harem (Dogan, 2005), Best Travel Writing 2006 and Encounters with the Middle East (Travelers’ Tales, 2006 and 2008.) She lives in Istanbul.
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