What kind of tradition did IMOGA's studio come from?
IMOGA’s current studio was first established in 1974 at Aralık Street in Kuyubaşı. This studio, which Süleyman Saim Tekcan set up as a special printmaking studio for himself and later shared with other artists, is the backbone, center and heart of the Living Museum IMOGA. It subsequently continued its existence in Söğütlüçeşme, followed by Artess Çamlıca Art House. Since the establishment of IMOGA in 2004, it has been operating on the 1st floor of the IMOGA building.
At the first studio established in Kuyubaşı, production started mainly with screen printing, and later diversified with the addition of lithography. At the second studio founded by Süleyman Saim Tekcan in Söğütlüçeşme, etching was mainly added to these productions. Here, Veysel Erüstün took on the responsibility as founder and instructor of the etching studio together with Süleyman Saim Tekcan. Erüstün and Tekcan taught the technique of etching together. Veysel Erüstün, who was Süleyman Saim Tekcan’s teacher from the Gazi Education Institute, had superior expertise in etching among printing techniques; and this was complemented by his advanced knowledge of Aquatint, Dry Etching, and Mezzotint among others, ensuring that the studio retained a deep and entrenched tradition in the etching technique.
While Erüstün was producing at the studio as an artist on the one hand, he was also training technicians in an artist formation with an academic discipline. One of the most significant testaments as to the superior qualifications of IMOGA's current studio - as well as those previously established which form the basis of the current studio, is that the technicians involved in production, past and present, retain and impart the theoretical and technical knowledge and training they received from Süleyman Saim Tekcan and Veysel Erüstün. Until his passing in 1987, Erüstün continued to work with artists in the etching department on the ground floor of the Artess Çamlıca Art House. Süleyman Saim Tekcan's daughters Elvan Tekcan and Eda Tekcan also learned the etching technique from Veysel Erüstün.
The studios in Söğütlüçeşme and Artess Çamlıca Art House were studios that also enabled artists with experience in the field to produce and reproduce. Since there were no other professional studios at that time, there was significant demand from artists to work in this regard.
Only artists educated in art, those who had learned specific techniques and could produce works with reproduction techniques were granted acceptance at Tekcan’s studios in Söğütlüçeşme and Artess Çamlıca Art House. The studios continued their activities under the management of Süleyman Saim Tekcan, Veysel Erüstün and Süleyman Saim Tekcan's wife, Emel Tekcan, who was skilled and experienced in the screen-printing technique, providing technical support to the artists. With the arrival of the 2000’s, a variety of different artist studios also began to develop in Turkey. Tekcan pioneered the establishment of studios other than his own, and supported other artists' studios in their endeavors to procure manufactured etching presses. Printing studios were established at Marmara University, Mimar Sinan University, Atatürk Education Institute, and Istanbul Technical University, under Tekcan’s leadership. Etching artists and printmakers were trained in these studios. These trained artists started to establish studios that implemented various techniques. The print studios at Aksanat were also established during this period. As a result, for Tekcan, the weight of the responsibility for proliferation of such studios in Turkey was relatively relieved.
IMOGA Etching School
The first steps of IMOGA Etching School were taken in 2000. Instruction commenced under the leadership of Süleyman Saim Tekcan and his daughter Eda Tekcan, who completed her academic education in the same field at the doctorate level and is also an academic in this field, for students educated in ceramics, architecture and painting, wishing to pursue instruction in printmaking, etching and linoleum techniques in groups of at least 10. The Etching School project originated from the studio tradition at the Artess Çamlıca Art House. Those with a background in fine arts who demonstrated competency to receive education in the language and culture of art were accepted for instruction at the Etching School. People from different fields such as traditional ones, those who applied miniatures to etching, architects, and industrial designers enrolled at the Etching School and received training as well. Instruction at the Etching School continued for 4 years at Artess Çamlıca Art House once a week, then at IMOGA after its opening in 2004. The Etching School developed into an even more professional and refined program at IMOGA, where nearly 20 selected students received education each year. Instruction at the Etching School progressed continuously until 2015 under the leadership of Eda Tekcan, on the 3rd floor of IMOGA. With the opening of IMOGA Art Space in Kuzguncuk in 2015, IMOGA Etching School also suspended its activities.
The IMOGA Studio Today
Although there is a screen-printing studio situated on the first floor within the current IMOGA studio, printing is more actively done utilizing the etching technique. The technique referred to, distinct from classical etching techniques, is the etching technique developed by Süleyman Saim Tekcan, and IMOGA's etching studio hosts a wide range of etching studios which utilize different metals in production.
From 2000 onward, with the adoption of safety standards regarding printing techniques worldwide, IMOGA, as an international institution, also ceased the use of oil-based paints in acknowledgement of these safety criteria. In the application of etching and linoleum printing techniques, water-based paints that yield undiminished artistic results and are in accord with health safety precautions began to be used. IMOGA continued to use these techniques intensely and as a matter of priority relative to other techniques.
Today, IMOGA seamlessly continues its studio activities with etching technique production, mainly within the context of traditional techniques.