The wish to gain global success is clearer in social media, where there are no boundaries. The fact that Artxdesign creates this much hype and the fact that we talk about how the creator is one of us with its followers from abroad is strictly because of this. Aslı Yılmaztürk is the creator and creative director of the platform that has become strong enough to collaborate with NASA, and one who has changed VaporMax, the newest member of the Nike Air family, into an art piece. The trilogy that was exhibited at SSM’s magical atmosphere entitled “Defying Gravity” materializes VaporMax’ innovative aesthetic perception. We lend our ear to Aslı about “Getting rid of the weight on one’s way towards their goal.”
When did you become interested in the visual world?
I remember asking my mother to buy decoration magazines like Country Homes and Maison Française when I was little and I remember cutting out everything that I liked, I actually had a special file for it. As I grew older, the same procedure continued by destroying fashion magazines. (She laughs.)
Your account Artsxdesign is one of the most intriguing accounts in the field of art and design. What were your goals in starting this project?
Artxdesign started as a blog in 2008. I used to share the visuals and write about them there the same way. Instagram was activated in the beginning of 2015, and in a few months started thinking about how I could convert Artxdesign into a business model systematically. My goal was to create an international platform that connected social media with real life. In short, my main goal was to take what I liked to do the most since childhood and what I thought was a perfect integration and turn it into a job. When what you love becomes your job, work life is not a burden anymore. Your work actually becomes your hobby that you do with pleasure, and that lifts all possible emotional barriers you may face. I can spend most of my energy on learning new things and applying them. In parallel to one’s own growth, this also provides grounds to develop the job with the same passion. While conceptualizing Artxdesign, this was the direction I always tried to take.
What platforms do you follow to stay up to date on the updates of your field?
I’m a little scattered about this subject, I can say that I am not that connected to certain platforms. Due to how AXD works, I make sure to research on a large scale. I find myself sometimes researching on Soviet art photographers, sometimes models of the 90s or Vintage Vogue, or sometimes modern art, designers or fashion delegates as well as surrealists. This list can go on forever, getting lost on the internet is easy anyway. One door leads to the other easily. At times I also dive into the books and magazines I’ve been collecting for years. In short, I am so used to seeing hundreds of pictures everyday, I try to discover new things from hoping to one thing to the other in a hyperactive manner.
How would you define your visual style?
If I had to describe it in an abstract way, I would define it as trying to diminish that thin line between art and design at times and to merge it at other times, and sometimes as one that respects both areas without interference. To materialize it, I can say Artxdesign itself. I use this account as means to define by visual taste and express my point of view.
What was your starting point for your project for Nike Air VaporMax?
To visualize VaporMax’ innovative aesthetic with a simple yet strong visual.
We see a minimal Nike description from your point of view. Can you talk about this collaboration?
I can say that this was one of the most freeing collaborations. The Nike team left the description part to me in a creative sense without any restrictions. This plays a big role on the end result. If I have to give an example, on normal basis, when I say “I will cut Nike Air VaporMax into two,” it is very likely for the client to tell me that I “had to show the merchandise as it is.” On the contrary, they supported the visual world I wanted to create, therefore I can say that they saw no harm in breaking taboos. The shoe stands out with its innovation and unique features and supports this point of view greatly.
Then I talked to one of the most successful photographers in advertisement who is also my friend, Murat Süyür about this project. I was so lucky that he was available on those dates and we worked together.
As for production, it was one of the most challenging and fun parts of all. Sometimes the materials in your mind give unexpected results in photography. Therefore I had to gather or produce at least 3 different sets of materials for each angle. Now when I look back I am so happy I did it that way because I used these objects that I brought along with me in order to prevent risks during certain angles.
What kind of relation do the materials you use have with the perception you are trying to create?
By using these materials, I had the intention to obtain visuals which represents freedom, illusion and lightness and to be in tune with the needs of our contemporary culture: Shredding all extra weight to achieve our goals faster.
Nike Air VaporMax’ roots go back to 1987, when the legendary Nike Air max was released. What aspects of a design make it timeless for you?
The fact that it combines aesthetics with simplicity, the fact that is innovative.
What kind of an atmosphere makes you feel like you are yourself the most?
I’m not that sensitive about this, I’ve been complying with different atmospheres that I’m not accustomed to since I’ve known myself. I feel more like myself when I am able to get into different moods as opposed to feeling safe or comfortable. Sometimes it’s okay to feel uncomfortable or unsafe as long as it’s not excessive, it makes one feel more alive. Since our brains are numbing more and more due to the system of today, let’s at least save our emotions and keep them active without forcing them into a vicious cycle. Maybe this is a long answer to a question that asked for a short one! However I’ve been thinking about these issues lately. I guess “An atmosphere with my closest friends, surrounded by palm trees in front of a white beach with a vast sea” will be the answer to another questions! (She laughs.)
Who would you like to meet the most?
I would have loved to meet René Magritte, own a piece of his work even.
What is the museum you admire the most?
The museum that inspires me the most lately is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art that is 40 km away from Copenhagen. The museum itself was no different than an art piece. There is also a museum that I admire without having been there yet, which is the Inhotim Museum in Brazil, which I hope to get a chance to visit in the future.
Photo by Fora Norman