has a show of her
oil paintings and drawings opening tonight at the the Armory Art Center.
never made an oil painting until four years ago.Today, she teaches painting as one of the resident artists at the Armory Art Center, where a show of her oil paintings and drawings opens tonight.
Oil painting isn't the first skill Kocabasi has mastered against the odds.Raised in Istanbul, she
trained in traditional Turkish arts at time when they'd fallen out of fashion.Ten years ago, she
husband, a fine-art photographer, and their 11-year-old son moved to the United States in search of better opportunities.
"I didn't speak the language," she
said."I had no idea what was going on.For the first five years, we just survived."Kocabasi
, who'd been a rug conservator at the Turkish Islamic Art Museum
in Istanbul, worked a series of low-paying jobs at fast-food restaurants, rug dealers and frame shops.The family moved three times in five years before Kocabasi and her husband divorced, and she and her son moved to Florida.
...While earning her degree, Kocabasi worked two jobs , at FAU to qualify for free tuition and a frame shop , and raised her son.
In Turkey, Kocabasi
studied manuscript illumination for two years and rug design for four years.At the time, knowledge of traditional rug-making techniques and motifs was fading.Her
university instituted a program to reverse the trend and create crafts cooperatives in the provinces.Kocabasi's
paintings combine traditional motifs she
learned in Turkey with the anything-goes sensibility of contemporary painting.
paintings have been exhibited at the Lighthouse Center for the Arts
, Florida Stage and the Armory, among other places.Her
work will be included in a group show at Gavlak gallery in West Palm Beach that opens May 24 and runs through the summer.She
is one of three artists in residence at the Armory this season.
Serious artists must work wherever they are, Kocabasi
said, "but it's a great opportunity to be in this space and this environment.It's a school.