Moving Portraits

Mehmet Görkem Kayhan, the creator of the moving collage on the cover of our Utopia issue (July 2020) might be famous for the generics he makes for the Turkish TV series industry, but we love his uncanny moving portraits even more!

You describe yourself as a motion-designer and VFX (visual effects) artist. How was your transition from engineering to design?
I have been interested in animation and design since I got my first computer as a youngster. But I never thought that I could have these as my profession. My initial life choices took me to the Faculty of Engineering at Istanbul University. At first, I thought that professional work would resemble a school, where I would go to work early in the morning and kill time until the evening. Then I started working as a graphic designer at a small agency that changed all my expectations. I never had to do engineering as a profession.

You have designed intros for some of the most popular Turkish TV shows. How is it like working for the TV series industry?

I am very happy to have caught the last years when intros have still been important for TV series and movies. Today’s fast consumption habits have generated “skip intro” buttons, and this design aspect is almost about to die. I loved the TV series industry as it gave me the chance to exhibit my work to hundreds of thousands every week. It’s an area with plenty of room to try original things. I think my interest in portraits has started in the same period. It was enjoyable to work on actors’ portraits and attribute new meanings to them.

When you design for yourself, you like making adding motion to portraits. How would you describe your style? Can we say that your work is surreal, even a bit uncanny?
I don’t think I have a style yet. I have been working on my own projects for a year or two and there is a lot more that I’d like to try. They are like motion collage, if we need to describe them. I love surrealism, and I think it will be the most important part of my style, when I have one.

Are there any artists or designers, whose work you admire?
There aren’t many people I can mention. I like some works along the way, but I usually forget the names of their creators 🙂 But there are some memorable names as well: Hayao Miyazaki with his style and storytelling, Aykut Aydoğdu and Miles Johnston with their drawings, The Glitch Mob and Zeki Müren with their music.

What was the coolest thing you’ve seen lately?
My dog Maya. I can say that it has changed my perspective on life.

What would your utopia look like?
I think it would be a small commune. It would be a place where I see the same faces every day and won’t have to communicate with people I don’t know. There, I would like to have a life free from the internet and other communication devices.

What song would you listen to cheer up on a day with low energy levels?
I usually use music to deepen my melancholy, rather than raising my energy. This is the feeling that inspires me, and awakens my desire to work. Nevertheless, I have a song that I feel good recently listening to: Lost I from Hinkstep.

To follow the artworks of M. Görkem Kayhan: and @grkmkyhn

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