This Artist Paints your Mixed Emotions through Vibrant Colour “Creating art changed how I am in personal life and made me have less fear.” – Deniz Altug Abstract art has witnessed a substantial rise in interest in recent years. The internet and social media have enabled artists to share their work with a larger audience that is seeking for “a gateway into the power of our imagination”, as Deniz Altug fittingly describes it. The Toronto-based artist started pursuing her passion of art after 19 years in the corporate world and now delights observers with her colourful and powerful paintings. Deniz likes to play with a wide range of colours, making them match and contrast. Her love for vivid colours reflects in her work, emitting a feeling of positivity and energy. “That is exactly my goal” she says, admitting that she had never realised how much of an emotional impact art could have on people. Together with Deniz, we explored the depths of abstract art as well as the emotions and life-changes it can generate. THE PLUS: What fascinates you about nature, especially in the form of oceans, waves, energy and flora? Deniz Altug: I have always admired the blue and turquoise waters of the sea. I believe that spending summers by the Mediterranean during my childhood has had an influence on my love for the seaside. I love the transparency and how light travels through the water and creates brilliant reflections inside. TP: How do you feel when relishing this beauty? DA: I feel intense tranquillity and peace when I look at the ocean or listen to the waves. It reminds me how we are connected to so much beyond ourselves and this makes me feel empowered to let go of worries and fears and be in the moment. Flora has a similar effect. Looking at the colour combinations found in flora provides me inspiration for pleasant colour palettes and compositions. TP: Why do you prefer working with vivid colours? DA: Vivid colours please my eyes and I love the sense of joy and energy that I can create with them. I like to work with colour combinations that vary from one painting to another. Having a large spectrum of vivid colours to choose from keeps me excited as I see different colours work or contrast with each other. TP: What do people say about your work that you love hearing the most? DA: Some consistent descriptions I hear are that my paintings look ethereal, have positive energy, and make people happy or at peace. “Inspiring” is another word I hear. Regardless what word people use to describe it, the commonality is the positive and uplifting energy they feel through my paintings and that is what I absolutely love – as that is exactly my goal. TP: What have you learned in your career as an artist you never expected? DA: Many things. I had no idea how much we can touch people emotionally with visual art and how fulfilling this feeling is me as a creator. Or, once I became an artist, the process of creating art inspired my way of living and being in my personal life. I am much more open to life’s surprises and thus, I have less fear. I also learned that about half of the time is spent not on painting, but on managing and growing the business side of things, which I do find enjoyable as well. TP: What do you like about abstract expressionism? DA: I love how abstract expressionism can create such a variety of visual and emotional impact through intuitive colour compositions and shapes, without having to be representational. Besides that, there is a deeper connection I have to it. Painting in an abstract style embodies some values that have become important for me in my life. TP: What kind of values are these? DA: For example, pursuing an instinct I have without having to know the outcome. Also, being able to express myself freely without a blueprint. Or, listening more to my inner voice rather than what is outside – or what others expect. In a creative context, I love to explore and express on the canvas what I feel like that day. I like to be surprised by the end results, and I learn along the way from the discoveries made during the creation process. This, to me, resembles what I love life to be. TP: Abstract art has found new life in the internet age. What do you think the future of abstract art is? DA: Yes, I see how a very large group of people are really attracted to abstract art. The internet along with social media has obviously made such a high reach possible. I think the popularity of abstract art will continue to rise in the future. For the most part, people already have somewhat structured lives. Whether they are dealing with daily issues or looking for that life inspiration, abstract art provides a gateway into the power of our imagination. TP: How does this power make itself known? DA: It can add that feeling of empowerment, possibility, hope, love, energy, or tranquillity that people are seeking. This is why they want to create more space for it in their homes and daily lives. TP: What do you like doing when you’re not painting? DA: When I’m not painting and not working on the operational side of the art business, I love to learn and grow both personally and professionally by reading or listening to personal development material, whether it is blogs, e-books or podcasts. I often listen to such material during my daily walks – provided the weather permits it. Personal evolution is a critical inspiration for me in life and my art practice, and through my work I want this inspiration to reach other people.