Everyday Exceptionalist 13: Ali Düzenli - STPL

Everyday Exceptionalist 13: Ali Düzenli

Ali is an artist who creates compositions about the degeneration of man, currently exploring themes like urbanisation and brutality. In his artwork, he tries to expose the troubled minds and monstrosities of man in an intimidating yet humorous way.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I wanted a profession that would allow me to exploit my creativity in my day-to-day work. I considered various disciplines like design, craftsmanship, animation and architecture. I eventually decided to focus on Industrial Design Engineering. I am glad that I took this direction, as it provided a playground for me to experiment with these disciplines, letting me figure out what I enjoyed spending time on. I completed my bachelor’s and master’s programs in Industrial Design Engineering and Interaction Design respectively and have since embarked on a career journey as a User Experience / User Interface Designer. In a nutshell, my role is to understand the problems and needs of end-users and to design solutions to these problems and needs while offering delightful and meaningful experiences. Although my day job provides a structure, routine and purpose with some space for creative work, I am continuously looking for ways to feed my hunger for creativity.

Ali in our Moondust Grey V-neck

When did you fall in love with what you do now and how did you get started?

Up until the beginning of my professional career, I often used my free time to draw and create artwork. I enjoyed it as a hobby and I mainly created fictional character sketches, graffiti compositions and portraiture. As an integral part of the secondary education art curriculum and university education programs that I participated in, I completed various advanced level drawing courses where I experimented with different visualization styles, techniques and materials. In the years that followed the beginning of my career, I felt that my activities at work did not provide a sufficient playground for me to creatively express myself. I regained interest in art, this time creating detailed portraiture and compositions that were increasingly intricate and visually recognizable. My skills and visual style have been maturing over recent years, as a result my creations have been gradually coming together as a thematic body of artwork that tells a story.   

What is your favourite part about the area you live in and your community?

A few years ago, I relocated to Istanbul after having lived in The Hague for many years. Istanbul is an enormous and highly dense metropolis where magnificently tall standing skyscrapers are contrasted by grimy streets and dark alleys. I often feel inspired when observing the urban scenes hidden behind layers of man-made structures. It feels like these forgotten depths have been left to decay while other parts of the city flourish and thrive in glory. The juxtaposing constructions throughout the cityscape indicate signs of neglect. The same neglect echoes in various aspects of socioeconomic life, eventually resurfacing as the regression of individuals and society. In my art, I try to depict this degeneration embodied in human form.

What makes you uncomfortable and how do you handle it? 

Our socioeconomic status determines where and how we work and live, the activities we take part in, the social circles we interact with, the transport we use and the routes we take. We are separated from each other by these rules and at times brought together by the streets. The experience of coming together in the same space after prolonged separation can feel confrontational and uncomfortable. It may create a sensation that we have nothing in common, and that we are completely foreign to one another. I use this idea of estrangement as inspiration to explore the dehumanising themes - degeneration and brutalisation of man.

What's on the cards, professionally and personally, in the next 12 months?  

I have at least a dozen new artworks planned in the coming year based around the themes that I am exploring and I would love to have my work featured at various art galleries around the world. My work will be included in galleries and international art fairs. In the coming months I will be busy completing commissioned works for private collectors. Besides this, I have made an entrance into the world of NFTs as a creator and will continue to offer my selected artworks to a growing audience as NFTs alongside the physical pieces themselves.

What is the greatest challenge of our time? 

The people around me are generally ambitious and career driven. In addition to striving for financial success, we are searching for meaning and purpose. We go through life in a fast paced tempo filled with stimuli and distractions. All of these factors not only make it a  challenge to focus on what matters to us, but also make it difficult to find a healthy life balance in managing the things that do.

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Ali creating his artwork in the comfort of our Moondust Grey V-neck

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