Interview with Belkis Aksu Celebi, a party in Skopje: In my illustrations the story is told by little people

Belkis Aksu Celebi
Belkis Aksu Celebi / Photo: Instagram

Belkis Aksu Celebi is an illustrator and graphic designer from Turkey who also started doing marketing, but soon realized that it did not meet her.

This beautiful lady decided to redirect her creative energy in her own way, creating in the pulse of everyday life. Today she and her husband live and work in Skopje.

 

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She says that she is inspired by the city, the architecture and often her illustrations show buildings, city landscapes and large groups - of small people.

 

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She loves to play video games, travel, read. In her spare time she practices yoga, urban cycling, takes care of her plants and loves to watch comedies with her husband.

 

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"I ALWAYS BRING A BOOK OF SKETCHES AND PENCILS IN COLOR TO REFLECT MY OBSERVATIONS AS POSSIBLE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I ALWAYS RESEARCH MY OLD SKETCHES TO GET INSPIRATION WHEN I CREATE FOR MY CLIENTS AND MY OWN PROJECTS. MOST OF MY WORKS ARE CREATED ON A DRAWING TABLE, WITH COLOR PENCILS, WATERCOLORS, GRAPHIC PENCILS AND EMBROIDERY.

 

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Belkis, how long have you been involved in illustration and graphic design? What technique do you work with, which is your favorite?

- I started my career as a graphic designer almost 10 years ago. I wanted to work alone and make money selling my illustrations, not my designs. I started sharing my drawings, my urban sketches with others and the journey began. I started attending local design bazaars in Izmir and London, and also started teaching watercolor illustration workshops in these cities and in Ankara. Then I quit my day job and started focusing on my own business. I moved from Izmir to Skopje 3,5 years ago and opened my first company. I organized workshops here in Skopje, before the pandemic. Now I work as an illustrator from my home studio. I work with publishers, magazines, businesses from different sectors and individuals from all over the world. And I work on illustrations inspired by my daily life, I keep my own graphic novel.

 

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Your illustrations include people, the city, social identity and architecture. Tell me more about that, why did you decide on these motives?

- Very often I did urban sketching. It helped me to remember a certain moment. Then I expanded my perspective and started adding movement and vibrancy to my illustrations with little people. Now my personal projects and illustrations that I make for my clients have the same background - architecture - and the story that speaks to little people.

 

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You also do embroidery. Where did you learn this old technique?

- My mother was engaged in embroidery when I was a child and I remember that I really wondered how the thread could dye the fabric. My interest in embroidery started then and now embroidery is one of my favorite techniques for coloring my illustrations.

 

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You currently live in Skopje. Can you draw a parallel between Skopje and Izmir. What do you miss most about life in Turkey?

- 3,5 years have passed since I moved to Skopje from Izmir and I really like my life here. I go once or twice a year to see my family in Izmir, or they come here. But I have to admit that sometimes I miss the sea too.

 

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