Maybe, existing in the mystery we call art requires the courage to get lost in it. Known for her unique lines and HI İCHİ character, Birce Kirkova makes it happen, paying no mind to the norms, by being active in many areas from illustration to installation. We explore the self behind her works.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind about Birce?
I don’t know. I cannot quite describe myself.
As an interdisciplinary creator, which area makes you happy the most, and why?
I don’t want to limit my creative process or memories to one area because I engage in each of them with certain emotions and thoughts in my head. I become so concentrated when I’m painting or creating something new, and feel so satisfied the moment I raise my head from my desk as if I’ve been meditating for a few hours that it can compare to no other feeling. I feel very satisfied and happy. It’s a priceless thing to physically manifest and express the many pieces in me. So I cannot differentiate between these areas. People would ask me, “Who do you love the most, your father or mother?” when I was a kid, and I found it very shocking because I couldn’t choose between them. It’s the same with the differences between my works.
Can you talk about HI İCHİ? How did it come to be, and what are its characteristics?
HI İCHİ are characters I create with inspiration from skaters. I’ve always wanted to have a skate brand and I still do. Skateboards, T-shirts, berets, etc. Though it’s currently on hiatus, I made HI İCHİ T-shirts as the first step of this wish. I started drawing the characters in certain places, and slowly, a story began to take shape. They are creatures with wolf heads and human bodies living on the HI İCHİ planet in space. They take their power from the sun and energy from the Moon. They were genderless at first but then I started adding breasts – but they still don’t have a sexual organ. I just use breasts when I want to point out that the character is female. I also draw HI İCHİs about relationships. Most of them are nocturnal skaters; we never see the daytime on their planet. These characters helped me a lot to emotionally express myself that I cannot put it into words. Indeed, some parts were too intense for me to express. But I can say that I finally have a lover which has been impossible to find it real life.
Five artists that inspire you?
Daniel Clowes, Zeynep Mar, Hayao Miyazaki, David Bowie and Mc Bees.
What were the challenges you encountered as a young artist?
I’m a fine arts graduate from high school, and didn’t go to college. I graduated from high school in 2010, and never had the desire to go to the college. I don’t like being judged by this option. There’s this prejudice that I have to graduate from a fine arts faculty to be interested in arts, and it’s the only thing that I find annoying. I feel like an outcast in certain communities. You cannot participate in some exhibitions or events unless you’re a college graduate no matter how successful or acclaimed you are. I think it’s a taboo that needs to be broken down. What’s important is what you present and what people take from it. The fact that I didn’t go to college shouldn’t be a prejudice about my drawings.
An essential part of your creative process?
I hang pictures of people who inspire me, of my favorite sculptures, and of pages drawn by my favorite comic book artists on the wall across my desk. There’s also music of course. I have to have it all around me or I cannot seem to have a smooth working session. If I cannot see or hear these inspiring faces or things that inspire me, then I wouldn’t be able to do the things I’ve done.
A dream you wish to realize?
My biggest dream is to have a vast hangar where I can work and live at the same time. But it has to be huge!
A hint about your future projects?
My first goal is to open my first solo exhibition, and I’m working really hard on it. I also have a photography project I started in summer so I’m also continuing to work on that.