The last Meet An Artist of this year is one who introduced the world of Decoupage to me way back sometime in 2009-2010 and who has been inspiring me all the way since then. I got to know about this technique or genre from her when I was in Dubai. Her florals, her Turkish designs and English country pictures have been an immense hit and they imbue elegance and softness about it. Petite and elegant herself, she always wears a smile. My greatest desire is to learn decoupage from her and I had once made an attempt before I left Dubai but the distance between our places of stay took the toll on my desire. As they say, "Last but not the Least..." I am presenting Ozden Gulen; a name that is synonymous with decoupage in Dubai and her classes much sought after.
Deepa: To begin with, tell us something about yourself…your family, background, education etc.
Ozden: I was born in Bursa - Turkey. I studied Business Administration at Istanbul University (B.Sc.) & English Language at Churchill House School of English Language, England.. I worked ten years as a Sales Manager, Product Manager and Assistant of GM in the automotive and the textile industry in Turkey. I’m a mum of two daughters; they are studying at the university.
Deepa: When did your creative urge begin? Tell us something about your recollection of how you began art?
Ozden: Actually I used to paint with oil colours and pastels in my high school and university as hobby, but with the busy life and professional career I did not to get the chance for any kind of art. In 2001, right after moving to Northern Cyprus, I decided to stop working and to go back to my first interest, which was arts & crafts. I studied hand build pottery and Creative & Decorative painting at the GML Art Institute (2001- 2003) and got the trainer certificate. Since then I've been running workshops as a freelancer.
Deepa: You are the artist who first triggered the spark of such a genre in me…decoupage…unique and different from what I had seen until then… I remember how I drooled over your works and I was lucky enough to see a few in person in Dubai Ladies Club (once when I visited) Why decoupage? What is it that fascinated you? Do you indulge in other genres too? If so, which one(s)?
Ozden: When I was in Turkey, I used to visit art markets. One day I discovered a very old lady, who was making beautiful wooden objects by decoupage. I had a chat with her and I got impressed that she was doing in a very nice way with perfect finishes and lots of passion. I started searching about decoupage and discovered that it is very famous in China and Europe. I have seen many samples that very famous artists also used decoupage on their artworks like Picasso and also I realized that I can use this technique to decorate my interiors and all around the house as well. It was a best idea to create our own life style by our hand.
Deepa: You take weekend and other classes in several places in Dubai. What is your regular job? How do you balance both your art and job?
Ozden: Currently, I have been working at Meydan Group/Project Department (www.meydan.ae) as an Executive Assistant since January 2010 and also I still conduct evening art classes and weekend workshops at Sharjah Ladies Club Art Center and DIAC- Dubai International Art Center. Additionally I have private classes as well.
Deepa: I think you are inclined towards literature as well. I have often seen what looks like poetry in your FB profile…are you a poet too? Who is your favourite author? Does your interest in literature help you in your creative pursuits?
Ozden: Actually, I love books and reading. In my hometown, I have nice library with over 1,000 books. I have been collecting them from my childhood. Also I have a small library here in my house with almost 300 books. I like novels, stories, biographies, physiological books, poems and of course all classics. I‘m writing regularly on the columns in a couple of Turkish internet newsletters. I have a blog for short stories. Regarding with art, I prepared a book for Decoupage and creative painting techniques in English, includes all technic information, materials, pictures and sample projects.
Deepa: Turkey is one of the beautiful places and Istanbul is on my bucket list J How has Istanbul shaped you in turning and churning your creative spirit?
Ozden: When you are in Istanbul you can see yourself that this is a city for art. Each corner of the city has beautiful very unique art pieces, history, and colour. We call Istanbul as the city of love…and you would fall in love with Istanbul because the city catches your heart with a very deep feeling. If you visit Bospohurse, you would like to paint on canvas, if you visit the mosque you would like to write calligraphy, If you visit the markets you would be impressed by the hand crafting, if you just go to the grand bazaar you would love to make jewellery. At the end of the day, you cannot even breathe without art.
Deepa: Has Dubai risen to the status of your second home? Yet, there must be times when you miss your home (land) especially during troubled times? How does it affect you (if it does)?
Ozden: Of course I love my homeland and would like to be over there, Alhamdulillah I can travel couple of times per year to visit all family members and loved places.
Deepa: What are your other interests? Do you get enough time to indulge in them as well? (Eg: do you love cooking as well? Are you creative in that too? )
Ozden: Actually I do not have lots of spare time, but if I have I like cooking and travelling. I’m really good at cooking with mum’s recipes J If anyone likes Turkish traditional cuisine, they are most welcome.
Deepa: I have seen that many of the residents in U.A.E are huge Bollywood fans? Do you watch Hindi movies? Any favourite actor/actress? Which is your favourite Hindi movie (if any)?
Ozden: My daughters love Bollywood & Hindi movies. They made me watch as well. I really like Aamir Khan and all his movies.
Deepa: You are a member of various prestigious groups/organizations in the U.A.E. How has the association helped to shape you as an artist?
Ozden: Yes, they encourage me and all other friends to explore our skills, discover new techniques and exhibit our artworks online or on the market to get feedback as well.
Deepa: You have exhibited in innumerable places. Any memorable incident that you would like to share with us?
Ozden: Actually, exhibiting my artworks and meeting others is a perfect experience. I remember once a lady came over and told me that she had got, as a gift, one of my decoupaged watering cans three years back and she still uses it and loves it. She had come to find me to order another can as well.
Deepa: Any valuable tip/technique that you would like to share with the readers?
Ozden: Using the right glue and varnish is the most important issue for decoupage. Please get always good quality ones for the final finish and have long life objects…
Deepa: Is there any dream project that you would like to work on?
Ozden: Yes, it will be in my hometown. I will paint my own furniture for home.
Deepa: Where can my readers find you? Your website address, blog, Facebook page, email address etc that you would like to share.
Ozden: Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/craftpainting
Thank you Ozden... it was fun having you here and sharing your life, interests and experiences. Thanks a lot! Wishing you success in fulfilling all your dreams, aspirations and endeavours.
Note: These pictures aren't doing full justice to what it is. They are much more fabulous in person!!!
Lovely Readers, hope you enjoyed reading about her. Thank you for your time and visits... please do leave your feedback...highly appreciated :)
This is it 2014! See you in the New Year...a brand new beginning - 2015!!! Hope it would be a Better year :)
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