Catching up with... Emre Altındag

Hi comics fans,

It's been a couple of months since our 2021 releases came out into the world, and with another UK lockdown only just starting to lift, it's been a crazy ride.

In the next series of interviews, we're going to catch up with our 2021 creators to see how they're getting on now their books are out, and what they're up to next. First up is Emre Altındag, creator of the beautiful and silent Fishes May Come Back. Enjoy!


How does it feel to have Fishes out in the world?

It’s been almost three years to the day since I completed the work that became Fishes May Come Back, in 2018, and people are still contacting me from all over the world to share their feelings about it. Definitely, this is a wonderful and also unexpected feeling.

How have you found the feedback/reflections on Fishes?

When I see the feedbacks of Fishes May Come Back, it suddenly comes into my mind that I have around 150 pages currently in my storage, which are the next chapters of this story. What I’m saying is, I need to keep on going with this story, and the others should be seen as well. Because when they are seen, I recognise myself and my work even more, I can discern my flaws more, and the things that I need to focus on to carry it further become clear to me. It’s exactly like looking at a mirror.

Besides, this is an endless story, as I have come to realise. I still draw and ink the new pages of this story and I can see that maybe it sounds like an exaggeration, but this is a lifetime project for me, that will not have an ending. I’ll always be transforming, renewing, and freshening up with new perceptions and contemplations, and my work will also become diversified with the help of different artistic techniques. So, with the help of the reflections of the audience, I will continue to internalise this journey and take the next steps on it.

You’ve jumped straight back to work with a new project, The Obelisk, currently running on Kickstarter. How did this collaboration happen?

The Obelisk is another silent graphic novel series that I am commissioned to work on by USA-based musician Dustin Carpenter. It is his long-term open-ended story, which is also closely related to my current artistic production in terms of its subject and storytelling method. When we first met and shared our visions, it was really out of the blue - we took a ride...

There will be an album and a series of silent comics to accompany it. When I first read the story, I said to myself that this is a kind of science fiction version of my stories! And we start to work on it together. Currently, we are in the last days of its first Kickstarter fundraiser, and also, we earned the 'Project We Love' badge for it, which was absolutely amazing. We were really surprised to see The Obelisk be liked by the audience at first sight. It was 30% funded within the first 48 hours, which is great. We hope to make it happen and I really hope I can work more on this series with Dustin in the future.

You’re also part of a new publishing initiative called Light and Memory, which looks great. Can you tell us a little more about that?

It is a project which I deeply care about. I call this a project maybe because I consider all of the artistic works as a lifetime project - even without an end after us. It may sound epic, however this is the thing that would make it better as time goes by and conserve its exciting synergy.

It is a community project, and we are planning to publish magazines two times a year on the subject of storytelling. The storytelling word opens up the possibilities to work with any artistic disciplines, so we can form a collaborative output in the community in great depth. In fact, this can be considered also as a group of artists working together to arrange both academic and non-academic events such as exhibitions, conferences, workshops which will be formed by various artistic disciplines such as illustration, graphic novels, architecture, photography and music which all focus on the subject of storytelling. It is a networking community actually, but the term of affinity would be more accurate for it.

At the 'every end', each creative individual should fulfil their plate and help to create this 'affinity' and create something good at the 'each ending point'. Moreover, magazine issues will help the community to be more organised and to see the renewal and growth more efficiently. Magazines will be kind of reports which indicate where we're at... and it is also so nice to have something to reach to a wider audience without any boundaries of race, belief or nation. It is not like we are excluding these terms by any means... in fact, the things yielded by each one’s own unique background are precious and valuable. We are aiming to create a living artistic community that forms through them.

How has the last year changed your approach to creativity?

To see my work be published and be reachable pushed me forward to create more, with much more sensitivity, and to put more ingenuity into my work and grow myself each day. Besides, in the current strange pandemic condition, I believe it is also so important to contemplate the preciosity of the moment even more. While this helps me to focus more on my work, it also leads me to approach and try to understand the inward state of others.

What are you most looking forward to about things going back to (sort of) normal in the future?

I guess it is better to focus on the current conditions, which I can do in my area and make something really good so that when it comes to tomorrow I won’t have regrets.

I can only guess, but I believe there are so many people out there with terrible living conditions. I think I should be grateful for the time and to this moment in which I live, and make it something that creates value to the point which I would be pleased in the future when I look back at today. I know it can be hard mostly, but I believe that is the inspiration for the moments that we chase.

Thanks Emre!

You can pledge to support The Obelisk on Kickstarter here, and you can buy a copy of his excellent Fishes May Come Back from the Good Comics bookstore. You can follow Emre on Instagram here, and also check out his Light and Memory collective on Instagram whilst you're at it.