Gizem Vural

Hello, Gizem!
How would you describe yourself – who is Gizem Vural?

I’m quite shy but friendly editorial illustrator based in New York. I’m crazy about ice cream.

What’s your interest about illustration and design? When did you start?
After I left university, studying graphic design, I learnt about there is something called editorial illustration where you can solve problems, not with a design but drawing, that is when I got so interested in illustration. I started drawing professionally in 2014. Slowly I worked on concepts and my style to come where I am today.

You have some special individual style. How do you define your own style?
I call it abstract. I love working in abstract style with brush strokes and shapes, I think it helps you to think more out of the box, I feel more confident and free. 

How much of your own personality goes into your illustrations?
I think anyone can find a part of me in my every work. It can be the color palette, pattern or shapes in my illustrations. I think that’s why anyone can spot my work and know that I did it.

Have you had difficulty reaching out people and making your statement as a female illustrator?
No, I don’t think I had.

You’re born & raised in Turkey and now live in New York. How did you get there, how does the creative scene differ there compared to Turkey?
I moved to NY with my husband (at that time boyfriend), because he applied for a Ph.D. program here to study, I decided to leave everything behind and go with him to pursue my dream becoming an illustrator. I met many great artist friends and teachers here. I think the biggest difference is everyone is so friendly and helpful here even though illustration is such a competitive area.

Your portfolio includes some pretty big clients, like The New Yorker or The Boston Globe. How did you first get to work with well-known brands like these?
I am not sure. I can say I drew a lot and studied on my style and my work’s voice. Also, I tried to connect with many people, even though it is very hard, I’m a very shy person when it is time to meet new people… But it is necessary to build a strong relationship with artists. Doing promotion of my own work helped a lot. I think when you start working with art directors, if you are good enough, your name can be heard between art directors. After all what I learned is that you have to work very hard. 

Can the creativity be learned later, or is it a feeling that is always within the human being?
I think it can be learned later but it can’t take you farther. It should be that feeling you are always carrying inside of you. When it is there you can do anything! 

Have your ever dreamed about illustrating your own children’s book?
No, I haven’t yet…. Maybe in the future? I love what I am doing right now. 

What does a typical day look like for you?
Coffee or tea first in the morning, a little breakfast, sitting at my desk, answering emails and if there is any assignment then I’m back at working on them, if there is no assignment I’m on my own projects, drawing new personal illustrations, comics or whatever I want to draw about. And if I am not busy I like going to the gym, if busy I stay at my desk until 6pm. Because I don’t like working late at night. I always like to finish what I need to do until it is very late at night. I’m not a night person.

What’s inspiring you these days?
Wassily Kandinsky’s work. I try to read everything that he wrote. I’m also so interested in Art Deco in design lately. You can find many wonderful works from the 1920s and 1930s.

What are your top five songs on your playlist?
LITTLE DRAGON – Butterflies, KARYYN – Binary, Son Lux – Flight, Submotion Orchestra – Blind Spot, REID – Standing By.

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be doing?
I’d become a pianist, I loved playing piano. Though I don’t right now.

Is there any designer/artist /illustrator from the past, you appreciate a lot?
I love J. Carlos’ work. I’m obsessed with them.

Finally, Is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do?
Nope. 🙂

Thank you!

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