Stuttgart-based artist Orkan Tan has always made art for a cause. In the artist’s latest film, Paranoia, he turns his gaze internally to send a message to the world. That message? Art as a form of self-therapy. The film, exclusive to Schön!, has Tan explore many locations, spaces, and themes, utilising a monochromatic chiaroscuro to both showcase his artistic process and demonstrate his passion for the project. Schön! spoke with the artist about the film.
You say that art is a form of self-therapy. Can you elaborate a bit on that? How exactly is creating art therapeutic for you?
Creating art is like meditation for me. When you meditate, you’re in a huge conscious state and your mind is quiet. This is exactly how I feel when I create. As an artist, there is a lot of stuff going on in my mind, so when I start creating it’s like meditation for me. Overthinking and questioning everything in life is one of my biggest addictions… Creating and being completely in the moment helps me a lot to stay calm. I only try to focus on the process of creating, my breath and letting the vibrations go with the flow. It’s something between self-therapy and a spiritual process for me.
Your previous work focused on themes like human rights, slavery, equality, and more. Where do you find those themes in this film?
Not only is the art film therapeutic for me, it also represents a whole demonstration for equality and human rights. It’s not common in my heritage for men to step into outfits and situations like the scenes I created. Additionally, the art itself, which is included in few scenes, stands for these important topics like modern slavery and mental health.
How much planning did you do for this film? Was it more improvised, or was it structured from the beginning?
For this art film, I‘ve had a lot of visions. I started collecting ideas, recording scenes and working on this art film a year ago. When I watched a film or a documentary and really liked a specific cut, I got inspired by it and noted it. I tried to get most of the ideas off of my head. I recorded more scenes than you can find in the final edit. Some of the scenes didn’t come out like in my imagination, which is why I scrapped them. [A] few ideas were improvised, but most of them were structured from the beginning.
How and why did you choose the locations for this film?
Empty, bright, huge rooms and locations are a big inspiration for me — they keep me calm and focused. Also, it gives me the opportunity to imagine my own art upon the empty walls. Most of the scenes are in my home where I create art on a daily basis. It’s the place where I feel most secure and where I can be whoever and whatever I want to be. Also, I‘ve set up few of my artworks as backgrounds, because I use my own art as a language to speak with the viewer.
What would you like viewers to take away from this film?
My goal with this art film, first of all, is to free my mind and bring more communication about important topics rather than release something superficial. Also, to show that you can achieve whatever you want to. You want to drop an art film that represents unpleasant topics and release it through one of the most important magazines in the industry? Then do it!
What is your creative process generally (fast, slow, lots of thought, no thought, etc.)?
My creative process is based on my mood. Most of the time, I really love and appreciate the process of creating art (painting, art films,..) more than the finished work. There are times where I paint a lot of canvases in a short period of time, but there are also times where I work for a few days only on one specific painting. Giving room for my thoughts is super important for me. I am obsessed with setting up an empty canvas or preparing a huge blank paper on the wall and giving space for my thoughts to come to life.
What has this period of social distancing and self-isolation taught you about your art?
I realised I should value my gift as an artist more. I keep my circle super small, but all too often I have noticed how people around me didn’t know what to do in their social distancing time. Unlike them, I have been given the indescribable gift of being able to create something timeless and make a statement. But [there’s] one thing I have become very much aware of: I pay homage to beauty, experience myself as its mirror and feel called to participate in the beautification of the world.
Is there anything you’d like to share with our readers?
Focus on your breathing, try to be in a conscious state, don’t believe everything you think, share my passionate art, and read “A New Earth“ by Eckhart Tolle.
This Schön! online exclusive has been produced by