Art / Design / Craft,  People

portrait of the kumbaracı artist: monika bulanda


There’s nothing quite like a glimpse into the mind of a working artist, and today I was afforded one on the street that seems to draw all sorts of talent theses days — Kumbaracı. Though it’s a humbling experience to see someone with so much talent at work, it’s also incredibly satisfying as well as inspiring. And Ms Bulanda is certainly not short on talent. In addition to being an accomplished visual artist, she is also a professional drummer, vocalist and musician with over 15 years experience recording work. On top of that she speaks five languages — one of them being Mandarin. However, let’s talk about her visual work, which she turned to not out of a need to sell something, but as a source of creative expression. It was only a little while ago, in fact, that she started to give her visual work the full time attention it deserved,  Ms Bulanda builds incredible cityscapes out of various media — hologram paper, printouts, scans of old Ottoman script, you name it — and then fashions elaborate three-dimensional works from them. Some are skylines, others bird’s-eye views, but all are laboured over with dedication and feeling. The floor of the studio is carpeted with cut out paper scraps. The photos I’ve taken don’t really do justice to the play of light over her media, which demand god-given lenses in order to appreciate the breathtaking texture and painstakingly constructed detail. Only then will you feel the rhythm of the recording artist at work here, the changes in tone and colour. I look forward to seeing her full array of works, including video displays, on April 11 at ALAN Gallery, above Simdi Cafe on Asmalımescit Sokak in Beyoğlu.