Zeynip Sultan Kiosk: Work in Progress 1
Zeynip Sultan Kiosk: Work in Progress 2
Zeynip Sultan Kiosk
On the tramline between the entrance to Gulhane Park and Hagia Sophia: This is a water storage fountain from 1769, marble shapes in diminishing echoes, hard as hell to draw, contrasted with coke bottles and shiny bags of chips, as it’s now a fast food kiosk. My first attempt to draw it, and it just wouldn’t fit on the page, I had to extend it. I was drawing this all day and binge-watching Breaking Bad at night.
A Good Cook
Ranit from Sri Lanka
Ranit fled Sri Lanka for Istanbul back in the day, and lived for years at the St George Hostel at the Crimean Church. A native English speaker, he can fix anything. He was fixing my sink when the power went out in my building due to an electrical fire. We heard my landlady yelling ATESH!! ATESH!!— Ranit ran down the three flights to see and back up to hang out until he knew it was safe, and we got this drawing by candlelight. In 2015, he walked to Paris, and made it, and is doing well.
Kemal in Cihangir
Kybele is heavily featured in all my work. The new owners retained the original staff, and I still get my mail there.
Iklim with Flutes and Bells
Iklim beat out thousands to get into the best state high school in Istanbul: Istanbul Erkek. Two years before I drew this, she’d heard me lecture there on art, and arranged lessons with two schoolmates. We share a birthday, and the honor is mine. Behind her is Hagia Sophia’s much-repaired South facade, with Ottoman windows punched in across what was originally an airy Byzantine series of columns and arches.
Ship Graffiti Ayasofya
Hagia Sophia’s structural work is done by the Japanese, who fortified the dome over ten years and have strengthened the entire structure in an invisible manner. The cosmetic restorations are done by Turkey. Half of Hagia Sophia’s magnificent interior is covered with scaffolding and plywood. There’s no telling what’s being done behind it all. We hope it’s just cleaning, not sandblasting and polishing as has been done elsewhere. I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to draw and photograph these charming artifacts in 2012, while the basilica was scaffold-free. Happily, the whole of Hagia Sophia is likely to remain.