Turkish artist Garip Ay made quite a stir in the social media and art world after a video of the artist painting his interpretation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night on water went viral. And yes, you read that correctly: painting on water. The century old Turkish art form goes is called Ebru, Turkish for ‘paper marbling’. The process involves creating patterns on the surface of water and then transferring the creation to an absorbent surface, like paper or fabric. Various additives and chemicals are sometimes added to the shallow tray of water to help keep the colors afloat. Once the colors are suspended on the water’s surface, the artist uses various utensils like ink brushes and straws to manipulate the paints until the design reaches perfection. This technique requires extreme patience that a normal painter or artist may not posses. In Ebru, one mistake very easily can cost you your whole piece. An unforeseen hand twitch, too heavy a breath, or simply a misplaced design are just a few of the many problems that cannot be tweaked or erased. Water is undoubtedly a very difficult surface to work with, but the results are undeniably beautiful.
Garip Ay hails from Siirt Turkey, but it wasn’t until attending high school in Diyarbakir that his passion for art flourished. Ay discovered Ebru in university, and after positive feedback from peers and mentors alike, he was encouraged to further pursue the prestigious art form. Though the art form is many years old, Ay is resurrecting and modernizing the lost art by painting modern day figures, from modern day television tributes like Narcos and Stranger Things to recreations of old-school classics like Starry Night. The art world is full of unique and creative art forms and for a while and Ay’s work fulfills this stereotype. However, the artist felt that he was not truly appreciated for his style and decided to expose his audience to the creative process. Ay began recording himself while painting his works and brought an incredible amount of attention and admiration for not only his artwork, but the Ebru artform as a whole. One of his clips went viral and made Ay an online sensation, further exposing his art. As time has progressed, Ay has been invited to host art exhibitions, workshops, and seminars all over the world, as well as various filming and recording projects. With the help of Garip Ay, Ebru has surfaced in the art world once again.