Mine Sübiler is so elaborate in depicting in utmost detail the magical, occasionally dark and always so enigmatic animal world while she -as if that wasn't enough- works on fabric as canvas for her extremely impressive drawing that her Istanbul-based brand Animals in Fiction never ceases to amaze us. But rest assured that there is nothing in common between these hand-made pieces and that popular trend in ordinary animal figures. An animal admirer for life, the young artist believes in the power of creativity, and while working on a Berlin-Istanbul-Paris triangle, she is sure to be much talked about her brand established in 2011 in near future. Need proof? Well, here you go.
How did your fascination towards animals start at the first place?
I grew up in a house with a garden full of animals in Istanbul. There is this huge Rumeli Fortress with a gloomy atmosphere with a beautiful nature. There has always been animals around; like hedgehogs, weasels, a donkey, chickens, turtles, owls, stray dogs, different kinds of birds, cats and dogs of course. In our garden we still have them. I've always liked spending time with animals, bugs and plants; having an actual interaction. I remember falling asleep while hugging my dog in times when I felt bad. We even have a pet cemetery -you can say that I was quite into Stephen King as a teenager. My mom bought us these very well illustrated children's books and ever since, it has always amazed me that there is another world going on there, in the forest, between the bushes, eating berries. It's a world you cannot share with your friends, it's a world you cannot live in. There, you'll meet no one from the real world, more like a dream, you can tell no one, you can invite no one and you cannot get anyone out from there. In a way you are alone. So I find myself going back to these memories.
Which animal fascinates you most?
The first realistic answer would be cat -the animal with whom I've spent most time with. The bound between a cat and human can be freakishly strong. But then the most astonishing animal is horse. Since childhood, I keep living with their imaginary existence. Riding a horse, that very moment, fills you with a fantastic feeling, similar to falling in love crazily or feeling the highest point of freedom with the best hug. Once I came across with a lizard who never left my side through the whole winter -that was special. Dolphins definitely are powerful and sensitive creatures. I am sure they would rule the world in the best possible way. As a child, I saw a dead dolphin on the beach once, which was a powerful image. The eyes of foxes are amazing. Wolfs are also one of my favorites; dark, sometimes unpleasant yet very emotional and loving, which I somehow relate to. Snails are always lovely, you should check out how they mate. And hedgehogs -if you pick up a hedgehog carefully without scaring it, they will lean their spines back and their faces will appear. They have very soft hair and a long cute nose with button eyes. There's also crows, owls and swallows; sorry for the long list, but naming merely one is just impossible for me.
All of the Animals in Fiction pieces are exclusively handmade which means that they are produced in limited quantity. Do you have plans to enlarge your business?
Of course; this is my dream. It's the only thing in life that I hold on to. When I decided not to work in the corporate world, or to say sell my time and effort for basically nothing; I decided to unite two things in life that has always kept me busy and excited: the inner world of animals and to create & manufacture things. Now, I don't want to limit myself with t-shirts. I started from scratch but back then, I couldn't get the fund necessary to create more. The freedom to produce will always be in the hand of the big companies. They want you to buy and to become dependent on them only. They are stealing our freedom of productivity, our right to exist on our own, the originality where in fact a person can create most of the things we need and enjoy in life. They are all handmade for now, but I will use different techniques such as printing, as there is a lot of demand making it impossible for me to produce them all by myself.
So you have a new project about this, being revealed very soon perhaps?
As most of you know, those who has ideas but cannot go further with them due to the lack of funds use crowdfunding websites, Kickstarter or Projemefon, its Turkish equivalent. So I'm starting a project on a crowdfunding site as this is the only way to get the materials and tools I need. As soon as the promo video editing is done by my friend, the project will be online for everyone to have a look.
How do you interpret the current dynamics of the creative scene in Turkey?
I think it's sill very much about money and status. This puts a huge barrier in front of originality and sincerity of creativity. The ones who have the privilege to go & live in the art hubs and get their work displayed back here obviously receive overrated attention and somehow stand in the way of the potential of true creativity. The more intellectual and creative art scene is, the more introverted it becomes. It almost feels like as if they are playing only for their own team. Not to mention that artists are separated with bold and rather unnecessary lines. They have been labeled, preserved and cannot get out of their zone. Many people seek for the courage to exist on their own, and the end result is a failure. If these groups somehow could be more homogenous, the creative platforms would be more varied and diversified. Still, freedom in Turkey is always enabled by social roles, constantly breaking our courage in bigger scenes and in daily life.