-Ali Palut, a civil servant in Kafka Hell: the Customs Office in Topkapi—–The staff was quite decent to me over the several years I had to go out there to get packages from home. When Ali Palut discovered I’d drawn his tea server, who wore a four-piece suit to work, he asked for this drawing. I was glad to oblige.
MY ARASTA LIONS
-Arasta Bazaar –Lions can live 2000 years – Roaring like the ocean through all those storms—–These old friends of mine are now in the sculpture garden outside the Mosaic Museum, just beside the Arasta Bazaar. When they are so worn by age and weather, how do we know they are still lions? Because they still roar, dammit.
Avowed Sultanahmet ladies’ man “Mario” did me a very good turn early on, by introducing me to future patron and friend Celal, and I’m happy to draw his portrait. Handsome, isn’t he?
-Nadia from Moscow at Kybele all during the snow.
PINKIE & FRIEND
-Pinkie with a guest kitten – Ruhiye: Lady living in a hobbit-house built in the arch of a Roman wall—–She lost her tiny house shortly after I drew her, demolished by the local government -Graffiti at the Boukoloeon – Ferdi Murat Aydin—–“Hulusi” is “Ulysses” in Turkish, and when he painted his name on the Boukoleon wall in 1945, he climbed up on a shack, as this row of giant blocks was high above the beach. Ferdi, Murat & Aydin lived in the ruins & kept an eye on me whenever I was down there drawing. There’s a whole section on this ruin in Book 27: ABOUT FACE.
-Dolphin leap in the view from the Marmara Cafe with the waiters dancing traditional Kurdish [dances] for the fun of it. 14-15 April 2005 – Boukoleon Palace—–History in one shot: Ruined Byzantine palace, shipwreck beyond, highway between, and past the park, the Marmara Sea. Once its waves crashed against the walls of the Palace itself. This is all that’s left of a mighty jeweled 9th-century fortress. After it was burned by Crusaders in 1204, it was occupied until being dynamited by the British under Sultan Abdulhamid II in 1871 to build the Orient Express. When Mehmet the Conqueror saw it in 1453, he wrote, “The owl hoots, the spider spins its web in the House of the Caesars.” I called this Brokedown Palace from the song by the Grateful Dead, which played in my head while I drew…
THINGS I LOVE
-Boukoleon Palace, an antique bronze bracelet I couldn’t afford…It’s long been my practice to draw things I want but can’t have, and I wanted this bracelet, I wanted that palace.
…& Aynur in her religious period. The cover later came off. “It scared tourists,” she said. She’ll always be with me. She and her friend Zeliha sold tops in Sultanahmet since they were little girls. I drew them growing up, and I hope they’re well and happy now.
MOHAMMED & NISA
Nisa told us she only covered for a wedding they were going to – Nisa – Sisman Balkabagi—–Mohammed and Nisa moved to Istanbul from Pakistan when they were very young and started a family. Their kids are mostly grown now and as gorgeous as their parents.
-Another fabulous face at Osman’s in the Grand Bazaar. This guy is a shopkeeper from Afghanistan- The Suzan is from Uzbekistan—–The first of many drawings of Mohammed Rahimoglu, who became an institution in the tribal arts business and a very good friend. I met some a
mazing women in his shop, called Ak Gumus.
UGLY MOTHER ROAD POPOURRI
-“Nightmare mother-in-law” This is NOT an exaggeration! – – Unhappy man on the tram – My Buddy at Elina’s truck stop in Bulgaria – Cloud shoal overhead – Another bureaucrat—–
When we saw her glaring in a cafe, Cynthia said, “Imagine that’s your mother-in-law. What a nightmare!” Handsome Gurhan, at center, was my neighbor and is still a friend.Much of this was drawn on the bus from Bulgaria.
ALL OF THEM ANGELS
-All of them angels – Insolent angel – Pink – Van Cat – IHellenistic 6-1 century BC – I was so upset at the devastation of the trees that I wandered around the Archeological Museum for 2 hours drawing angels. Please, angels, protect Istanbul’s old buildings & trees from the idiots. These angels have seen it all. Thank God they remain. Once Kristyan Meleklar (Ancient Christian Angels)—
—The trees are butchered in Istanbul, even now when we’re in a pulmonary pandemic and need every leaf. Back in 2005-6, with the wholesale mutilation of so many fabulous trees, I damn near drank for the first time in decades. But nothing is worth that so I wrote articles and drew pictures of trees instead.
We were up in the Corlülü Ali Pasha tea garden…
Aylin Çerkez Circassian—–Her besotted husband watched me enthusiastically while I drew this. Circassians were the prizes of the harem, and we can see why!