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A day in the life of Bedri Baykam

Born in Ankara in 1957, artist Bedri Baykam has crammed plenty into the past 52 years. Considered a child prodigy, he was creating remarkable work from the age of two and held his first international exhibitions at six. He is currently one of Turkey's most famous living artists, and concentrates on the New Expressionism movement, multi-media and photo-painting work. Baykam is also one of the country's most prolific political commentators. In addition to his 97 one-man shows, he is the author of 18 books, including 'The Bone and Monkeys' Right to Paint'. SHOP's Emma Cheevers joins the artist, activist, writer and football expert for a less-than-average day

Emma Cheevers,

'I get up at about 8.30am. Most days I only sleep five hours, some days only three or four, because I have so much to do in the day. If I'm in a hurry, breakfast can be five minutes, but I prefer to have more time to read the papers and to think about my day. Right after breakfast is when my assistants bring me the bills that need paying and papers that need signing, which is the least favourite part of my day - but it helps me digest! I check my email quickly after breakfast, but later in the day I like to spend more time and catch up with my 4,400 friends on Facebook.

'In the morning, my team and I usually schedule meetings for my organisation, Piramid Art Center, to decide on the direction of the company and plan exhibitions. There are usually public events held here, either political speeches or sorting out important meetings with lobby pressure groups.

'I rarely work on my art in the day. My days are devoted to my other work: I may meet a collector, or an art student doing their thesis on my work, but I also concentrate on my political work. I usually have one press interview a day, or a TV appearance, and once a week I have a regular spot on a TV programme about football. The day is for paperwork. I like to file things - local news, international news regarding arts, politics, Turkey's relationship with EU, problems with Turkey's left. I'm very interested in the world around me and it influences all my work, including my art.

'At night, the phone stops ringing, and there are no visitors, so I have more time to myself. Like many artists, I do my best work at night, painting from about 9pm to 3am or 4am two or three nights a week. That's why I don't sleep. Well, that and the traffic. Anyone who has driven in Istanbul knows about the traffic. I lose about two to three and a half hours driving each day. That's the real reason I lose sleep.'




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