What is your name and your current occupation?
I work as a visual development artist (sometimes only as a color stylist) and character designer for projects in games, animation and commercials.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I did an internship as a personal assistant for a fashion designer named Bahar Korcan. Since I moved to the States for college and stayed, I wasnâ€™t able to pursue anything outside the limits of my degree.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Itâ€™s really more about the people I work with for me, but if I were to look back as individual projects Iâ€™d probably say the 30ft digital display on top of Target HQ in Minneapolis, the interactive Rome music video by Chris Milk, and anything I was a part of at Elastic.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Iâ€™m originally from Turkey. I came to the States to study at Otis College Of Art And Design. I tried to venture out as much as possible and upon graduating I was lucky enough to start working in both games and commercials, which eventually also lead to feature animation.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Being a freelance artist and frequently changing projects creates different types of work days. I might have to wake up at 7am to be on a call if Iâ€™m working for a company on the east coast, or I might be waking up at 6am to be on set by 7. Still, for the most part Iâ€™m at studio by 10pm to go over any notes or briefs, check up with my director and go over what needs to be accomplished. I let them stop by whenever they have time, because I find that the spontaneous visits from good directors often bring up a spontaneous idea or angle that makes my work better. I usually wrap up by 7 and e-mail my progress unless something extraordinary is going on.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Preproduction. I like it the most because it gives you a chance to add something personal to the project.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Itâ€™s hard to follow a projectâ€™s lead if there isnâ€™t a strong story or concept. In commercials this happens often, as the hero of the project is the product. Otherwise Iâ€™m only upset when a great job wraps up and everyone has to go home.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
Itâ€™s most likely because I have only worked for a couple of years so far, but I still process everything the same way. My paintings are usually digital, in Photoshop, and my character sketches are usually traditional (though the paint over is usually digital). Â I find that on the preproduction end, my clients usually just want a really good design or idea. They donâ€™t really care how itâ€™s rendered.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Depends on which area, but Iâ€™d say working with people who arenâ€™t interested in cultivating the story/idea.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
When I was still in school, my mentor Cathy Jones put Carter Goodrich and me in touch. This was back when CTNX didnâ€™t exist, and we couldnâ€™t just go up to Peter De Seve or Dice Tsutsumi and talk with them. My mind was blown! Since then I was able to learn from or work with really amazing people (Mike Humphries, Will Weston, Chris Appelhans, Marcelo Vignali and so forth), so I consider myself a lucky duck.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Somehow Iâ€™m a magnet for random tough situations that are almost comedic, the kinds of things you would laugh at in a movie. So I just try to laugh at the though situations, and nothing really seems that dire in retrospect.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I just took part in a convention for the first time. I printed a personal sketchbook,Â and an illustration book I split with my friend Elsa Chang. Iâ€™m looking into finding different outlets for stories.
Any unusual talents or hobbiesÂ likeÂ tying a cherry stem with your tongueÂ orÂ metallurgy?
Not a talent but I always take pictures when I find a photo booth (but only real photo booths, no cheating!), and always send postcards when I travel. Though not unusual, my biggest hobby is probably photography. I occasionally work for music blogs as a photographer, shooting musicians.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Iâ€™d say be yourself. Create something that is honest and meaningful to you, and not what you think other people want to see.