Ithaca-based, Istanbul-born illustrator Gizem Vural is known for her abstraction and expression throughout her personal work, such as Lonely Night, A Busy Morning and Anxiety, in which she demonstrates her flair at its most vibrantly coloured and intense. From time to time she subverts expectation, juxtaposing vivid colour with sketchy and gradated tones of black, grey and white, further imbuing her pieces with emotion.
“I like to draw busy people, hurrying here and there in their own world. I still like doing drawing about my emotions and depressing feelings, but I am being careful to keep that dreamy atmosphere in the background,” she says. Such has lead her to pick up commissions from her the likes of The New Yorker, Nautilius and The Boston Globe.
A former student of graphic design at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts in Istanbul, she dropped out in her sixth year to pursue a career in illustration. Nevertheless, she attributes this prior study as a strong filter through which she finds herself expressing the emotional narrative of her illustrative pieces. “I like to tell stories using thick and thin lines, and colours with texture…since I studied graphic design I was always attracted to big bold abstract shapes, using layers, also colours and textures in poster designs,” she explains.
Gizem has a wide range of influences, which can be seen extracted and abstracted throughout her work. “I especially love Polish and Hungarian posters from the 20s and 30s – Róbert Berény, Witold Janowski, Karel Vaca, Jerzy Flisak — I’m still so inspired by them. Lately I’m also into Brutalism. I love those buildings,” she explains.