Predictions, Predictions

Since I came back from New York in October, I’ve maintained the policy of turning on the news as infrequently as possible. Regardless, it is getting to be that time of year when the tv news shows are full of prognosticators called in to reveal what we should all be expecting for the coming year.

Last year, I decided to get into the prediction game myself, with ‘Art Fortunes’. This involved taking 52 collages I had made that were all the same size (each about as big as a postcard) and ‘transforming’ them into a fortunetelling deck.

It was pretty easy to do, because it involved – ta-daaa- absolutely nothing! Nothing, that is, except telling people I could tell their fortune by looking at the cards. As I explained, ‘Art Fortunetelling is based on two premises.

  1. All the world is energy, all life is interconnected, and time is not necessarily linear.
  2. Artworks speak to us because they contain layers of meaning that we can uncover by truly looking.

Just telling (reminding) people that art has meaning was nice for me – and because I was telling people’s own individual fortunes they tended to look a whole lot harder for the meaning in the cards they were picking.

Which was nice.

As an artist, it’s always nice to have people looking at your work.

While some people were happy just to sit back and let me tell them what I saw in the cards, others ran out ahead of me to interpret their own cards. Which made my life as a mystic a lot easier.

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Below are 2 new cards I made last week. These are the first collaged ‘cards’ I made after having decided to use the collages in fortunetelling, and I found out something very interesting while I was making them.

Nature out of Balance

Forbidden Fruit

What I found out was that… as I was making them, I caught myself consciously trying to interpret them, and everytime I caught myself, I had to stop working. Before, I had had thoughts like, ‘oh, that’s interesting’ and ‘that makes sort of sense there’, but I had never had thoughts like ‘oh, if this is here, then that could mean this.’

Of course, all those possible meanings were there in the previous collages – and when I looked at them after they were finished, I could draw that meaning out – but once I started trying to fix the meaning at the very moment I was working, everything collapsed. My conclusion is:

  1. There are different ways of thinking and different ways of knowing things.
  2. Not all the ways of thinking and knowing work for every task.

I’m fairly sure there’s a philosopher or two out there who has put this much more eloquently and much more clearly. This was all I could manage on my own.

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To demonstrate the process of how Art Fortunes work, I tried to read my own fortune.

Deck of Fal

After holding onto the deck of cards until I felt as if I had transferred enough of my own energy to them, I spread out the cards face down and picked one without looking. I turned it over, and it turned out to be this one:

Turtle Dreams.jpg I called it Turtle Dreams.

Then, I turned the cards over so I could see all the images, and I looked through them, trying to pick the one card that I felt ‘looked right’ with Turtle Dreams. I looked at all of them and narrowed them down to four possibilities, then out of those four, I picked this one:

Pointy Objects.jpgPointy Objects.

Then, I turned the cards over once again so I couldn’t see the images, and I picked out a third card ‘just by feel’, and without turning it over, I placed it face-down on my black ‘reading cloth’, like this:

Fal reading

Then I started the reading.

The card I picked by looking, Pointy Objects,  is the ‘present consciousness’ card. It’s how you see your current situation – or how you would like to see your current situation. It represents your awareness of what’s going on in your life. In this case, there appears to be a lot of chaos, a lot of violence, and an attempt to flee. Interestingly, Pointy Objects has often been selected by people I’ve done readings for as their ‘present consicousness’ card. I think it is a sign that there is a lot of shit going on in the world. I think you would probably agree.

Turtle Dreams, which is the card I picked without looking, represents the subconscious. It’s what’s going on even if you’re not paying attention. Compared to Pointy Objects, Turtle Dreams still represents an atmosphere fraught with danger, but there is a much greater sense of caution – moving slowly to avoid the danger, rather than running quickly away from it. Unfortunately, it is hard to tell if the turtle is crawling away from the danger zone, or slowly but surely heading right into it. The only way to find out is to look into the future- in this case, the final card, which, when turned over, revealed this:

Floating on PedestalsFloating on Pedestals

Normally, I would have a lot to say about what this card means; in other words, what one can expect to look forward to (or not) in the future. However, when I turned this card over, I found I was without any words, without any interpretive powers at all.

I think what I found out was that you just can’t predict your own future.

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Regardless, I wish everyone the best for 2016 – may it be better than 2015 – and may I remain,

Yours truly,

Deborah Semel Demirtaş

Decisions, Decisions…

 

 

One of the things I’ve been wondering about lately is how we make decisions.

Actually, one of the big questions for me is how we decide what we’re going to believe, but that’s way too big for me to take up here.

The much smaller, but still very interesting, question I’ve been thinking about when I’m in the studio is how we – make that ‘I’ – make decisions in a piece of art. So here I’ll try to go through the decision-making process for what I’ve been working on lately, which are collages.

I refer to these as ‘water collages’ – because they’re about water, and they’re collages. Simple enough.

The reasons I decided to start making them are:

  1. I like making collages, and I like water.
  2. I have a small indoor studio space and I like to make small art and collages are not very messy and the weather has gotten cold so I’m not using the space outside these days.
  3. I had a lot of extra paper lying around that I wanted to use up for reasons of ecology and obsessive-compulsivity.
  4. One day while I was making some collages I must have gotten tired of concentrating on juxtaposing images and also probably noticed I had a lot of blue paper, so I thought I could use up the extra paper faster if I just concentrated on making blue collages – and hence water.

Like this:

Water Colalge 3Water Collage No.3 (25x25cm – about 10″)

And this:

 

Water Collage - weird landscape

Water Collage No.4 (25x25cm – about 10″)

And this:

 

 

Water Collage - Island Landscape

Water Collage No.5 (25x25cm – about 10″)

OK, so that explains why the ‘water collages’ in general, but what about the process of making decisions for each collage? That’s a much tougher question – deciding what should go where. I suppose the first reason is:

Because it looks good. That means ‘composition’. I’m paying attention to how the image is balanced – which directions lines are moving, where the darks and lights are – stuff like that – and then if it’s not just abstract color and shape, but a more defined image (looks like an island, looks like a tree, for example), then the ‘meaning’ that comes out of the relationships between the objects (tree on island, tree floating over island, etc.). Sometimes, in fact, it comes down to expediency – i.e., laziness (‘Got a big piece of blue paper cluttering up the worktable? ‘Glue it down!’)

But as far as all that goes, there’s always more than one possibility – always ‘more than one right answer’ – so this really hasn’t explained anything – why decide on one thing from all among all the other possibilities?. Thinking about this reminded me of my favorite art writer – who in fact happens to be a sociologist.

Howard ‘Howie’ Becker, author of ‘Art Worlds’, is one of the editors of ‘Art From Start to Finish’, a lovely book filled with essays about things that get made by artists.

Basically, a lot of decisions just comes down to ‘what feels right’. But why they feel right is a whole ‘nother question…

(By the way, pictures of the Water Collages 1 and 2 are in an earlier post here)

 

My Holiday Presents to You

As the media reports on Black Friday pointed out so emphatically, the holiday season is upon us. Need I list them all? I don’t think so…

If you’re among the anxiety-prone and you’ve already begun fretting over the proper response to ‘Merry Christmas’ (as I get wished in Turkey) if you aren’t Christian (I’m not), or ‘Happy Winter Solstice’ (as I get wished in Facebookland) if you aren’t Pagan (I’m not…sure…), then take heart in the advice I read the other day:

Don’t worry about making any ‘corrections’, and certainly don’t get into a politically incorrect huff, just say,’Same to you.’

So, to warm you up with some holiday cheer – especially those of you who have already gotten out your winter woolies – here are a few modest little watercolors that I did on the way to and from Adana in September-October before Harun and I left for New York…

and have a very happy and merry Same to You.

 

 

Datça-İncekum 2Datça

 

Datça-İncekum 3Datça

 

Datça-İncekum 4
Datça

 

Outside Göcek 1Outside Göcek

 

Outside Fethiye 2Outside Fethiye

 

Outside Fethiye 4
Outside Fethiye

 
Outside Fethiye 5
Outside Fethiye

 

Outside Fethiye 6
Outside Fethiye

 

Outside Fethiye 7Outside Fethiye

 

 

Outside Fethiye 8Outside Fethiye

 

Outside Fethiye 10Outside Fethiye