Today we talk photography, eating your art and being cheap with the amazing Penniless Photographer aka Zeren Badar.
Three words we’d use to describe Zeren Badar’s artworks: zany, playful and (a) riot. Zeren takes classic pieces from the likes of Van Gough and other artists and injects them with new energy, as he cheekily reinvents them with common objects such as toy crabs, sliced citruses and nail polish. With the appropriated artworks having their own history, it lends a whole new perspective to viewers in this the delightful paradox of the old and renowned, and new and disposable. We stumbled across such images from the Accident Series on Tumblr, and we instantly wanted more.
Ladies and gents; our Tumblr Artist of the Month, Zeren Badar.
Introduce yourself to the good people.
My name is Zeren Badar. I’m NYC based self taught photographer. I’m originally from Turkey.
What do you have to say for yourself in terms of your art?
I’m hugely influenced by Dadaism, neo-dadaism and pop art. I love color in every medium. I’m interested in the conceptual aspect of art.
Describe your making process.
In my recent photography project which is called the Accident Series, I explore a peculiar combination of photography, painting & collage. I search a lot on the Internet. I look through art history books to find old paintings. My making process is very scattered. One moment I search for old paintings, the other moment I look through other artist’s websites. I go shopping to find objects or food to complete collages. Anything can inspire me. I feel like I’m alert all the time which can be exhausting.
When did you first pick up a camera and decide that taking pictures was your thang?
I always took pictures of my friends and family. I decided to improve myself in photography in 2010. I have worked in the fashion business for years. I needed to have another creative outlet. I bought my first DSLR. I tried to take photography classes but it didn’t go well. I trained myself with reading art and photography books. I started with street photography. After one year I turned the lens to myself and did a lot of self portraits. I learned a lot during my self portrait project. I still take self portraits here and there. I recently started making my last project – the Accident Series. I like the process of creating something.
In a lot of your images, what you’ll include will be a classic artwork with something wacky like food or plastic fridge magnets littered on top of it. What has been your favorite commodity to shoot with, and do you eat the food after you use it?
I create three dimensional collages with found objects, food and cheaply printed old paintings. I turn pre-existing works of art into Duchampian ready mades and take photographs of them.
Yes I eat the ones that are edible. It ruins my figure actually. I started going to gym more often. Mostly, I give away cookies to my friends.
I love working with little toys. I search for my inspiration in 99 cents stores, supermarkets. Anything can be used which is colorful, rounded and flamboyant.
Are you trying to express particular messages throughout your work?
Most of my images come from my memories. I love the one I did with tiny fishes. It came from my childhood memories. That’s how they displayed fishes in Turkey. My memories were the main source when I did self-portraits as well.
I want viewers to engage with my art. I want to make them think.
As the Penniless Photographer, do you have any sweet money saver tips? We are broke uni students that could use some thriftin’ and livin’ advice.
99 cents store are my favorite places. I could spend days in those stores. I also don’t buy any expensive clothes. Anyway GAP & H&M does everything perfectly now.
Finally our theme this month on Rad Men is YOU AND ME. If your artworks were people, what do you think they would say to you?
My art would definitely tell me “Go out and have fun! Put a smile on your face!!”