Fatma Durmush

February 2018 Artist of the Month

Cyprus-born artist and writer Fatma Durmush creates striking, expressive portraits. We are delighted to make her our Artist of the Month this February and to ask her more about her artistic practice and journey with Outside In.


Which artists, if any have  you drawn inspiration from?

When I was a child I used to look at the Catholic church murals on the walls. They used to keep me safe and then I would look at my little book while there was the congregation, which I hide myself from, and then I would be left alone to read my stories in the chapel. That was the beginning of my intense interest in the arts. Because for me the church was a part of artistic hilarity and lunacy, it did not matter what they said, the whole thing was a show for me. What caught my eye was that the headmistress had similar paintings in her study and this was amazing.



Do you have  a favourite piece? If so which one and why?

Madonna Lisa by Leonard de Vinci was a part of a story in a story which said something about Giocionda smile. I did not care for it but that reminded me of all the paintings which I had seen and the books and all that. Picasso and all that Frido Kahlo, Van Gogh, and then when I was fifteen I saw Gauguin and cried because I would never paint as beautifully as he did. Street art is one of the hardest I find and Banksy I admire too. I respect photography because it is a process of machine like precision, Grayson Perry because he paints what he thinks and feels.



What do you hope the viewer get from your work?

I hope that they get something of what I see and what I feel a connection of the spirit which I give to my work and the work that goes into it is not work to them but a peace offering. Something of myself, something that is good of me to them.


What has been the highlight of your artistic career?

Going to University and getting a degree in art and a masters in art and printmaking. Later in trying to become this person who is taken seriously and is able to relate to everyone in a room filled with people who speak about what now I understand but before escaped me. I did not know half the artists, still don’t, but at least I know what it is they are talking about.

We Balance


When and how did your interest in art develop?

I was nearly murdered in my late thirties, then my real interest began in art. I hoped to create colour and all the images of the colours which had become drab, as my existence had been a hard one, my writing had not taken off due to having dyslexia.



What influences your art?

I don’t know, rage, yes it is rage and the lusts of rage. It is as if when I am painting I am in a rage and must release the tenseness of this rage. It is as if I am possessed and when the possession is done I feel calm again.

Red Two Males


What process do you go through when you are creating a piece (starting with the initial idea)?

I see an image then the image becomes a complex series of marks, which then I collage later. I see the image which by then I did not know I had in my mind. So it is partly in my unconscious mind and I let my hands do the work and the image if not there is unsettling me and somehow if the image does not appear it is a disaster and I go through it again and again until the image is clear.



Has being a part of Outside In been beneficial for you? If so, how?

Yes because they were the ones who said that my photographs of my work were not good enough and did actually price the paintings and then put me on the web and some liked the images. But the main thing is to get out there and that is what it is Outside In help with, being part of the painting world. 



What is next  for you as an artist?

I hope to sell my art work and to live happily ever after off it. But it might not happen, so the next best thing is to continue until I run out of space at home. I have a great deal of art work which is crammed all round the sheds the attic and the rooms. Many manuscripts and pictures which I say is not bad, but then who I am in the art world but a mere speck of dust?



See more of Fatma's work on her online gallery here.

If you are interested in purchasing any of it, contact our Exhibitions Coordinator, Cornelia Marland, by emailing cornelia.marland@outsidein.org.uk or ringing 01243 770 828.