We’ve Interviewed Artist Berry Aktuglu Of Atelier Mave! Bringing You Behind The Scenes Of Our Zodiac Collaboration.
Can you walk us through your path? What kind of stops were on the way to where you are now?
Actually, both my graduate and master's degrees are in completely different fields from what I’m doing currently. Before starting up my freelance journey, I was working in the brand management department for a pharmaceutical and cosmetics company, working closely with the in-house creative teams. I always admired how they translated creative elements to the packaging. That was when I began drawing. I have learned a lot from working on the other side of the table but I’ve always felt that I belonged in the creative world.
When did you know a career in the art world was for you?
I have always loved creating things with my hands, the only thing that has changed during my artistic career so far is how I express and embody my ideas. After I started playing around with gouache paints I was hooked! I taught myself how to draw and to further enhance my technical skills I enrolled in classes. Whenever I had free time outside of my day job I would experiment with my paints. As days and nights passed with this routine I finally decided to build my own playground and Atelier Mave was born!
What is your mission with Atelier Mave? How did it get started and where do you see it going?
Atelier Mave is another way of communicating for me. While I cannot communicate in all of the languages spoken around the world I can communicate through my art. The things I create reflect my childhood memories with whimsical and fun elements. I aim to turn all the mundane moments in life into playful stories that put smiles on the faces of those around me. In the future I hope to broaden the range of products containing my illustrations, I’d love to branch into ceramics.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
My day contains a lot of tea and coffee! I generally wake up around 6:30 am, I prepare a green tea or black coffee and read a book or catch up on news blogs before breakfast with my husband. After he leaves for work I immediately jump into my studio. I start the day painting new things and experimenting with new ideas to loosen up my hands and mind before diving into commissioned work. I typically draw all day, a mix of digital and paints and I end my day with administrative work and emails.
Tell us about the mediums you choose to work with and why? What was your process when creating the zodiac “Gah!” illustrations for us?
I started the Gah! Zodiac illustrations with my gouache paints, creating a story behind each woman linked to her zodiac characteristics. I wanted to convey the right emotions and colors that represent each sign so I modified the colors digitally after the illustrations were complete.
Do you identify with your zodiac sign?
Oh, yes! I’m a typical Capricorn woman with all of its traits. Being an ambitious introvert is mixed within my DNA!
Can you speak to your relationship with creative struggle?
I constantly take notes and make quick sketches whenever ideas pop into my mind. But sometimes my scribbled sketches that seemed interesting at the time end up in the trash bin, I’m always looking for ways to visualize things differently. Sometimes all I need is a brisk walk or a trip to the museum, or even just window shopping helps change my mood. I never give up because I believe that the best way to overcome creative struggle and fear is to create more!
What do you have to say to those trying to “make it” in creative fields? What does it mean (for you) to combine art and work?
I think the most important thing is determination. If you believe in yourself and what you do, the rest works like clockwork, meaning that you have a clear roadmap to foresee opportunities and challenges ahead. Having perseverance and knowing that setbacks are common will help you better deal with them.
Tell us about your home in Milan.
Our home is located close to the park. I love spending time in nature so I’m lucky to be living in this part of the city. I’ve also created my own interior jungle which helps refresh my mood. I really care about all of my plants, I talk to them every morning, they’re like children to me. We keep our interior walls muted to really enrich the colors of my paintings displayed throughout.
Where do you find inspiration and how do you organize it?
I take inspiration from vintage objects, clothing, retro films, childhood memories, old picture books, and the simplicity of everyday things. You can almost always find a pen and notebook on me so I can jot down anything that grabs my attention. I rework all of these scribbles to created my own light-hearted characters.
What is your relationship with fashion like? How do you see fashion intersect with art?
I’ve always been intrigued by fashion since I was a little girl but honestly, I don’t follow trends. I think fashion and art overlap continuously, they’ve had a give and take relationship for centuries. I believe the two disciplines enrich each other.
We know that an artists work is never done but when you take breaks, where might one find you on a sunny day off?!
You could find me running in the park or celebrating with some wine! (which could also take place in the park).
If we were to visit your Milan neighborhood, what should we check out?
Milan is full of surprizes! Getting lost in the streets is the best way to discover incredible hidden courtyards. Generally speaking, I love spending time in the Naviglio area, especially for aperitivo or visiting the flea market which takes place the last Sunday of every month.
Lastly, what makes you say Gah!?
Hımm.. this is the toughest question! A Schiaparelli dress!