1- Who are you as a cartoonist?
- As a cartoonist (especially about the editorial cartoons) I liken myself to a cat. A cat ready to explore, sharpening his nails, watching and waiting for the most appropriate moment to attack. ;)
2- When was the first drawing for you, can you tell us plz?
- I drew my first cartoon themed "Traffic in Turkey" in 2007. In fact I drew three cartoons and sent them to a national competition with a great courage. One of them was selected for the exhibition and for the catalog with the second one. Now it adorns a book's cover "Here is Turkey" titled written by a psychologist.
3- Did you study art in an Academy?
Yes, I did. I was graduated from Department of painting Faculty of Education at 9 Eylül Universityin İzmir. I worked as an art teacher for many years and I retired in 2013.
4- What does inspire you when you are drawing everyday?
I must admit that I don't draw a cartoon every day. Remember the cat! Anything can inspire me but sometimes I have to wait for having a good mood or ripening of the fruit (idea).
5- Dear Menekse, could you please tell us about your artistic life? Do you think that there is freedom of expression in the world which we live? Could you please tell us about your experience in your country?
- As I told, I'm an art teacher. I never can cut my ties completely with painting art but since I drew my first cartoons, I feel I'm happier with cartooning. I hope it's happy with me too. ;)
I often participate to national and international contests and exhibitions. A lot of works by me are published in humor magazines and art magazines in Turkey, in Eulenspiegel Humor Magazine and Stern web magazine (Germany), in New Internationalist magazine and 7Days newspaper (United Kingdom), in Al Nas daily newspaper (Iraq). Also as the cover of edition dec-jan of Smarteemag-2013 (Edith Piaf caricature) in France-Paris, and as the cover of the book titled “Burası Türkiye” by Prof. Dr. Erol Özmen-2010. Also some of them are exhibited in Underground Exhibitions in Berlin, in the special exhibitions (Spain, Brazil, Bulgaria and Italy).
I have opened my first individual cartoon and caricature exhibition at 19th-25th october 2009 in Izmir. My second individual exhibition was organized by Izmir University in Necdet Doganata Art Gallery at 4-7th march 2015. And my third individual exhibition was organized by Karaburun Municipality in Cartoon House (april 2015). Also I have organized two international cartoon exhibitions in 2010.
2008 - The 2nd prize- İ.B.B. "Books and Libraries" themed national cartoon competition.
2008 - Award of Excellence in China (LM).
2009 - The Best Cartoon Prize in Korea (DICACO).
2010 - Honorable mention in the international cartoon competition "Beer" themed (The Golden Keg) – Slovakia.
2011 - "Silver prize" in 7th Syria International cartoon competition themed "Plastic Surgery".
2012 - “Golden Pulya” in 5th Cyprus Aysergi Pulya International Festival.
2013- “Special Prize” in HumoDEVA international cartoon competition- Romania.
2013- “Grand Prize” in cartoon competition themed “ Building Bridges” organized by National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia-USA.
2014- “Success Award” in 31st Aydın Dogan international cartoon competition.
2014- “Special Award” in 7th Oscarfest cartoon contest-Croatia.
2015- “Special Award” in 4th International Olive Cartoons Contest - Cyprus
-There is no freedom of expression in my country during AKP government. Editorial cartooning is a form of activism. They are like a captain's logbook. Also they are valuable documents that shed light on the future while the mainstream media are offering an one-sided representation of local or international events. So some cartoonists were faced with arrested and imprisonments.
The government has banned first Twitter, later YouTube two years ago. But I must say that while the number of Turkish users on twitter were 7 million before the ban, it reached 10 million at the end of the first day of the ban. In the same way the people continued to use YouTube after the ban. We became a kind of a specialist of IT by finding various ways to exceed the bans. :D So the bans don't affect us. Even it inspires us to draw more editorial cartoons and to publish them on the internet.
An international exhibition themed Gezi Resistance was organized in Didim in 31st August 2013 in my country.
The exhibition was opened at 14.30. In the night of the same day at 00:15 the works which had a great interest of the public were confiscated by the decision of the prosecutor's office. There were ten cartoons by ten cartoonists in the exhibition. One of them was mine. The cartoons were arrested and tried. Fortunately the organizer was a quite good lawyer. :).
Thank you dear Menekşe ÇAM
Cartoon Home Network Internaional