CENTER OF THE WORLD
YOU ARE HERE – TL 160 – A trip to the airport to renew my visa- alas they could not do it – Bleak days drawing in my lonely aerie – but I have my Ygor!——I drew this for fun, for Kybele. 3 years later, Alpaslan requested I customize it for his new restaurant. The resulting placemat printed in the tens of thousands and went home for years with customers from all over the world.
FAHRETTIN & SELAHATTIN
“It’s hard even to draw these carpets, think of making one”—— Selahattin with his fine English and degree in history became a very good friend in the years I spent in Sultanahmet.
BACKYARD TURIST POLIS RUIN
Behind Tourist Police across from Hagia Sophia——Years later I learned that this is the remnant of an Ottoman Girls’ school adapted onto a Byzantine church. It was St Mary’s in Chalkoprateia, and after severe earthquake damage it was abandoned and the Basilica Cistern built next to it. Now it’s got a humungous plastic-looking roof and a lot of scaffolding.
NICE TOURIST COP
M.A.C. – Let in the backyard of the Tourist Police to draw the ruin there – was thanking him w/ this drawing when the supervisor came in all pissed off- that was the end of that!
Ali Pasha’s tree thrusting itself out of his tomb – “He was some kind of a man.” ——The quote is Marlene Dietrich in “Touch of Evil.” The tree is at the entrance of Corlülü Ali Paşa Tea Garden in the Old City. It had actually lifted the tomb, which has now been re-seated. I’ll never draw the grille between me and anything again.
Coffee grounds while drawing Tomb Tree late July 2004——Couldn’t read ’em so I drew them.
A corner over behind the Hippodrome – A real Istanbul juxtaposition – The day I met Gurhan & Ali…late July 2004——A classic Istanbul Old City one-shot: 17thC Ottoman Minaret, 6thC Byzantine wall, 20thC wooden houses, 21stC shop. I sat in front of a carpet shop on a chair provided by Ali who worked there. His brother Gurhan showed up, with fluent English and a magnificent kitten, Obi-Wan. All three, especially Gurhan, became an intrinsic part of my Istanbul experience, as a matter of fact I would have been lost without them.
BEHIND THE OLD CONSULATE
I love this wall behind the old Russian Consulate in Tunel——Gone forever now that they’ve restored it into a mall…all this mystery and beauty covered with plaster. Glad I drew it!!
Then and Now: the photo at left was taken by professional photographer Scott Stulberg in 2005; the one at right was taken by me two days ago– May 2021.
Trying to get interested in drawing something outside Sultanahmet – Taksim Square…bleah….Actually it was not bad back then, just not an old ruin.
ADIM AT THE PUDDING SHOP
Adım – The legendary Pudding Shop – 2004——A meeting place for expats living in Istanbul all during the 60s & ’70s, with hippies setting out along the Hashish Trail and the Silk Route. Adım is the son of the original late lamented hippie-loving owner. Still the best place to take anyone on their first visit, especially vegetarians and vegans. Adım has remained a friend all these years.
<School Night: 24 June 04: Tonight out on the Hippodrome, after leaving the Internet cafe– where I was humbled by the amount of worry I caused back home by not communicating– I was struck by the March of the Toys from Nutcracker plus clinks of talk & laughter sparkling out of the Islamic Arts Museum. A party for a poet, and me too tired and ill-dressed to go…but I met a guy leaving who turned out to be the director of the school near Kybele…and later we ran through the huge dark high halls, down the red carpets and up the stairs to magical watery Bosporus vistas out every window. He said I can come back & draw there… stately Ottoman splendor!
Women Washing Wool >… on the roof just below my window – I watched them for an hour – There were three young ones and one elder in a white scarf – Tarlebaşı July 2004
WOMEN WASHING WOOL