France based Bora, delves into diverse artistic mediums, crafting an interdisciplinary realm where creativity serves as a form of activism. Acting as a reflective mirror of the contemporary moment, Bora harbors a fervent desire to explore representations of queerness. Their artistic portfolio, spanning digital creation, installations, soundscapes, and performances, delves into imaginary landscapes as a means of gracefully navigating our reality with tenderness.
Bora’s identity is a nuanced and expansive practice that transcends the boundaries between the tangible and intangible. Dimensions fluidly intertwine: from costume crafting to digital realms, sculptural objects to installations, and sonic explorations, all interconnected and in constant flux. At its essence lies a profound dance with impermanence. Bora dreams, believes, and views Art as the vessel through which these expressions come to life.
Hi Bora! Thank you for sitting down with me. First question that I always ask. How does a regular day look like for you in New York?
Bora: Thank you for inviting me, I’m very happy to share this moment with you. I am based in France but would love to live in NY for some time! A regular day usually starts with a morning walk or run, I love to go by the river. It calms me and helps me to reconnect with myself. Then I usually have a research and fun time drawing inspirations, writing, and listening to music in my studio. And then I dive into creation and its magic dimensions.
I don’t know why I said New York there, I knew you lived in France, my bad! I’m curious. Growing up, what kind of kid were you, what did you enjoy doing and how did you spend your time?
Bora: Hmm, I was a dreamer I guess, spending a lot of time in my imagination. I remember looking at clouds and creating narratives within the shapes I could see. I had a notebook where I was collecting images, bringing it to school. I adored glitter pens. I wasn’t shy, yet an inner kid. I always loved to connect, wanted to have friends so much but it was hard as I wasn’t very confident, and was very sensitive. My sisters and I were spending all our time barefoot in the garden with our dog, playing characters and imagining scenarios. We also loved organising shows in our living room, and singing. I remember being very romantic, connected to my heart and to my dreams.
I know that you’re self taught, Do you remember how old you were and how you got introduced to the different graphic design programs? And which programs do you use now?
Bora: I was in Berlin, at that time very immersed into sound, producing and feeling very creative with it. I discovered little by little my sonic identity and slowly had the urge to start exploring a visual narrative that could go along and form a universe. My dad gave me his old portable camera and it became my companion for a while, I started filming, and editing on after effect. I was first completely lost yet so fascinated. I loved the accidents as I was manipulating some effects. Accidents became a way to learn and find little by little my journey into programs. I fell in love with 3D when I was 25, in such an intense way, and used the same process based on intuition and expression. I started with C4D, and now I am creating with Blender. It’s so magic, how it allows you to be a shapeshifter and create a whole universe with many dimensions all interconnected.
What made you gravitate towards 3D and digital art, and not something more traditional like painting for example?
Bora: Intuition probably, I wasn’t meant to explore 3D at first. I was studying sound and performance, and started 3D by accident as an experimentation. It was love at first sight! I used to paint a lot, still do and it’s not so different in my experience. I enter the same state, a sort of trance or reverie. When I paint my 3D characters in my software, the gestures are the same as when I am painting or sculpting. When I sculpt in 3D, I feel the same energy as when I sculpt clay. Of course touch is different, but the materiality of digital is very fascinating. Touch is a sense that can be triggered by your eyes too, 3D made me enter a whole different approach and discovery of human senses.
Alright so at some point you start working with physical sculptures, created with 3D printing. How did you get introduced to that? And how long has it taken you to get as good as you are now?
Bora: I love to create a portal between what we consider being material and immaterial. There is so much poetry in the space within: an immaterial perception can provide a deep physical sensation, and vice versa. When I do work with 3D, all my senses are stimulated, material and immaterial are intertwined. That was the start of the wish to create physical objects that could be extensions, vessels. With my collaborator Eloise, we wanted to create magic objects, sentient wearables/sculptures and started our 3D printing adventure Soft Creatures (@xsoftcreaturesx). We are still experimenting a lot, trying and learning each time of the process. We started diving into 3D printing two years ago. Before, my artistic process used to be based on making sculptures with textile, and casting body parts with silicone and resin. I got into 3D printing with so much excitement as it would allow us to print objects from our digital world and translate it in another physical form, which I find very exciting and full of possibilities. This adventure is based on joy.
Where does the inspiration for the various characters and creatures you create come from? And who are they?
Bora: I don’t know where it comes from, and I like the mystery of it. Probably from imagination and all its labyrinths of narratives and dreams, and from the external experiences too. I do work with my imagination as the main source, and love to dive very deep and see where it leads me without limiting it, or judging it. I love to explore symbols, and create some, not knowing how to explain them every time but knowing how to feel them. It might sound weird, but the characters are my friends, I call them my friends from the clouds. We exchange and I collect their narratives. They are all different, with different stories yet their common ground is wearing their scars and marks as part of their core, soul and radiance. They shine, the light pierces through them.
Same thing goes for the various scenes and worlds you create. What’s your inspiration behind them? And what are you hoping to convey?
Bora: I am fascinated by digital as a vessel for expression and change – how it transcends, mutates through our “reality” and tackles its limitations. It creates a shift in what we can see and offers to experience it through another lens. Through the exploration, I aim to open portals, where we create space for care and love, reflect on our perceptions, and acceptance. In all its failures too, we cannot promise care and safety.
I am fascinated by monsters and its history and evolution throughout time, and how it can be correlated to queer representations. How what can not be understood or expressed becomes something to fear, reject or censor. Monsters are so interesting, already in its etymology – “Monstrare” , the one who shows. They question us in who we are, our essence. The worlds I create are inspired by the will to transcend norms, and use imagination as a guide to confront and deconstruct. I wish to convey magic – unique for each of us – like little lights. Yet I embrace the fact that I cannot control what people feel when they see my work, each experience is subjective and unique. Rejection too.
Tenderness, intimacy and fluidity. What is it about those topics that makes them important for you to document them in your work?
Bora: Fluidity because it is the core of who we are, fluid beings, shapeshifting everyday. Fluidity is connected to change, life is impermanent. To embrace fluidity is learning how to dance with it, transform. Fluidity allows us to find our core, our identity through all the rivers we swim in, and metamorphose. Intimacy resides in my exploration too, I believe intimacy is political. It is a statement. Our bodies hold so much power, and magic. Tenderness is the soil of my practice, it is intertwined with our heart too. It is so powerful. As a child I suffered from being hypersensitive and tenderness was a way to navigate, a healer. Yet often perceived as a failure, or a weakness. It is not naive, it is necessary and truly needed.
Where does your interest in exploring queer activism and representations come from? And how does in transcend to your work?
Bora: I guess it comes from my personal journey. My story is a long adventure, bumpy and full of shades. It took me years to find my way into my identity and I am still discovering everyday and welcoming with humility what unravels. That is probably the root, where my Art comes from. In my family, and my surroundings there were no queer representations I could feel aligned with what I felt inside. It conditioned me in many ways, I felt like a little anomaly creature. My Art has been the guide, a companion I could explore with, and discover representations I could feel connected to. I guess it transcends through the characters, their marks, their emotions, their journey. They dare to be who they are and dream, their scars as an entrance for the light to pierce through and irradiate. My friends are my guides too, we commune and are a family.
Can you walk me through your creative process. From beginning, to end result?
Bora: It fluctuates a lot, I do have a lot of notebooks for writing poetry, drawing, sketching. And a dream notebook where I write every morning when I wake up, which is so inspiring as a starter in the process of creation. I usually start with words, a sentence or a narrative, an image, an impression. I am creating my own symbols, sometimes unconsciously. Then I sculpt. I love that part, it is incredible, how the contours and shapes come to life, in a singular way each time. It is an emotional process. Then I paint, search for textures, and start the world building with lights, environment, and details.
Then, I usually let the world breathe for a few days, and anchor before I render. The creative process is vibrant, and intuitive, so I like to step out and come back to it before I capture it.
What motivates you?
Bora: Art is my primal language, it is the place where I feel alive and aligned. It is my home. It feels natural, since my childhood it has been one of my principal ways of communicating and interacting with others. My motivation is to share hope, magic and continue to grow, deconstruct and create space. Connect with others, and be curious, be surprised. I’m so grateful, and excited for what is to come.
How do you deal with creative blocks?
Bora: I try to listen. I don’t battle against it, I try and host it as I would do with a friend. I take creative blocks as a guide, showing a path. I believe human beings are a microcosm from a macrocosm system, we are drops mirroring an ocean and we do have seasons. Gestation, retreat and silence are meaningful, they are here for a reason. They allow us to build, breathe and rebirth.
How would you describe a perfect day?
Bora: I don’t really know what perfect means, but probably a day where I feel aligned with my heart, body and emotions. Little things, to share with others or with oneself filled with simplicity, and humbling. Nature is such an amazing teacher for this 🙂
Any future projects coming up?
Bora: I started this project called soft creatures, diving into 3D printing, it’s really exciting to expand the 3D universe into material artefacts. I do have exhibitions, collaborations and beautiful performances I am really looking forward to 🙂
Alright Bora. I always ask these two questions at the end of an interview. The first is. What’s your favorite movie(s) and why?
Bora: There are so many, the ones that marked me the most are from my childhood, “The never-ending story” was one of them, with the Burton’s movies too, especially “Big Fish”.
I have been very fascinated by Tarkovsky and Lynch’s universes.
The second is. What song(s) are you currently listening to the most right now?
Bora: I love to listen to music, and discover while I am creating. My taste is very eclectic. Especially experimental gems found by accident and a lot of classical music, disco too!