American illustrator and artist James Montgomery Flagg once said, “The only difference between a fine artist and an illustrator is that the latter can draw, eats three square meals a day, and can afford to pay for them.” It is understood that illustration was a more commercial art in history. On the other hand, this art is something that has been almost universally rejected by fine art experts for a long time.
In recent years, this versatile art, in which the artist embellishes and interprets a text, concept or process, has been on the rise. In Turkey, some works to support this eye-pleasing sector and its artists have also started. The Illustrators' Platform, a social initiative project designed to support the illustration industry, has come into service in recent months by meeting with illustration artists and candidates in numerous cities with its Illustrators' Meetings and identifying their fields of activity. The platform aims to contribute to the sector by exploring the problems it has been facing and finding the best solutions for them in Turkey.
Speaking to Daily Sabah, Nurgül Şerefe, the founder of the platform, said that the platform is open to every artist who describes himself/herself as an illustrator. “With this platform, the sectoral practices will become clear. This will provide a more comfortable business environment for both the employers and the artists. Secondly, the necessary dynamics and infrastructures to support existing and new artists in the sector will be provided. Besides, Turkey does not have a collective representation in this field abroad. Turkey does not yet exhibit a strong existence with its illustrators. I believe we will achieve this as the platform.”
The platform, which offers a membership system, has an advisory board consisting of those who have made a name for themselves in the industry, as well as collaborators from universities, foundations and associations. Also, various events are held within its remit. For example, illustrator meetings were held in İzmir, Eskişehir, Edirne and Istanbul provinces to date. These meetings will continue in different cities, such as Ankara and Bursa, in the future.
In addition to these meetings, a talk series “Illustrators Making a Difference by Branching Out” will be organized. In this talk series, precious guests will share their experiences in this sector. Şerefe also added that an exhibition comprising of works by the artists of the platform will be opened at Barış Manço Cultural Center in December and can be visited for two weeks.
Talking about the illustration sector’s situation in Turkey, the founder Şerefe continued, “As industry experts, we see clearly that the use of illustration will increase even more today. With the development of technology, when we consider issues such as digitalized communication, new media and the way in which augmented reality enters daily life et cetera, original content such as illustration, graphic design, motion graphics and animation gain great importance. Even if there is a great potential in this sector, it needs to grow. I can say that, as in every sector, there is a somewhat closed structure to new entrances in this sector. The difficulties experienced by each artist and artist candidates in areas such as contract, legal rights and proposal processes continue. The advisory board of the Illustrators' Platform will bring important expansions with the partners it cooperates in the most basic problems, and we invite everyone, every institution and organization to cooperate with this belief.”
The platform, which illustrator artists and nominees can join, aims to expand business opportunities for its members by designing projects for business development and creating environments where participants can present their portfolios to a wider audience. While it will give opportunities to artists to open up to the world, it will also support the artists’ works.
In this sense, many important figures in the illustration sector are also involved in the platform. Mustafa Delioğlu, one of the master names of illustration in Turkey, is one of these figures becoming a member of the platform. Delioğlu, who produced nearly 2,000 projects with an original style in book cover and children's books in the field of illustration since 1968, also confirmed that he supported this platform.