Day 82: Hamit Üçok

Today’s creative feminist (@hamitucok) teaches us lessons about bravery and courage. There is so much beauty, depth and thoughtfulness to unpack in Hamit’s responses and artwork but I find his words about growing up on an ethically divided island, affected by war and segregation, which is such a difficult yet unescapable influence on his work so profound and deeply moving. Thank you for sharing this insight with our community.

1. Hi, I’m Hamit Üçok (24), a Cypriot artist currently living and working in London. I work with oil and my paintings cover a variety of figurative subjects, mainly portraiture. I am currently a student in MA Painting course at the Royal College of Art. As an artist, I strive to create work that employs visual traps to show how the mind is quick to assume what is being created in a given image. In my allegorical paintings, I abstract the contexts or situations behind my subjects so that the meaning of a work is waiting, suspended or even lost.

2. As far back as I can remember, I have always loved to sketch and paint imaginary characters and used art as the medium through which I express myself. Painting is an escape for me, it is a necessity. I attempt to ran away by actually running into problems. Just like every artist, I have insecurities. I work hard to overcome these issues. Everyday I discover something new about myself and my practice. This truly excites me, and the uncertainty inherent in the medium is what keeps me going.

3. My predominant concerns are the social and political issues facing our contemporary global society. To digest and approach these problems, I constantly feel the need to transform my ideas and images into paintings. I work from my personal experiences and memories of growing up on an ethnically divided island. Having been greatly affected by the aftermath of war I paint my fears by intertwining concepts drawn from both Turkish and Greek Cypriot vantage points. Segregation is the impossible subject but equally, what kind of artist could choose to ignore it?

4. For me, being a creative feminist is not only about equality, but also about believing in justice. There is a need of urgency to this representation, due to the unprecedented times we live in. I wake up everyday dreaming of a better world. And that’s why I paint.

As I’ve mentioned above, there is so much to explore, unpack and investigate within Hamit’s work, but I want to conclude interview by pausing to note his words on insecurities and escapism. It takes great bravery to admit insecurities, but Hamit is so right, we all, as creatives, have doubted ourselves and our work at some stage, but having the courage to pick up the paintbrush/pencil/needle and thread and strive on takes great courage and commitment. I am spellbound by the way Hamit describes the practice of painting as means to run into his problems, and I think many of us can relate to this feeling of simultaneous confrontation and exploration within our creative practice. Please show Hamit and his awe-inspiring work and words a brilliant welcome to the community by following his page @hamitucok and community your thoughts below. We see the better world you envision Hamit, and we are thankful for it.

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