Cem Kocyildirim is gay, the Turkish immigrant and a creator of the artistic series ‘Drums On Paper’ which is dedicating to collaboration, risograph printing, and affordable artwork. Now ground Flour Gallery in Park Slope, Brooklyn presents the third part of his series – Drums On Paper III.

Kocyildirim came from Turkey, where he studied mechanical engineering to America to start his masters program in design and technology at Parsons The New School. He wanted to stay in the US, so he applied for an O1-B Artist’s visa. “I had to go back to Turkey to get my visa. I stayed there for three weeks and screen printed shirts with ‘Authorized to Work in the US’ text on them,” he explains.

How Immigrant Artist Creates Affordable Art And A Borderless Community Of Creators

Most of the people wonder how Kocyildirim started doing risography. As he says, he saw lots of printmakers and printshops on Instagram and they really caught his eyes every time. That’s how he explains his fascination with risography: «When I learned more about the process, I fell in love with it. I am a printmaker and I have worked with different hand printmaking techniques as well as digital printing. Risography is a digital printmaking technique, which gives the speed of a copier and the hand-printed quality of screenprinting. So it was a perfect fit for me».

How Immigrant Artist Creates Affordable Art And A Borderless Community Of Creators

How Immigrant Artist Creates Affordable Art And A Borderless Community Of Creators

Now his printshop is called Authorized to Work in the US, it is located in the cozy Brooklyn neighborhood of  Gowanus. The name was inspired by the struggles that many immigrants have when they are willing to (and need to) work in the US but they don’t have the necessary paperwork for authorization. « Every single day, I hear unfortunate life stories where someone needs to leave the States after living here for more than 5 years. People start new lives here, and boom, after a couple years their visa status changes and they have to start a new life somewhere else in the world,» explains Kocyildirim.

How Immigrant Artist Creates Affordable Art And A Borderless Community Of Creators

His artworks reflect his ideas and opinions. “I believe in a borderless world, and I see printmaking’s ability to communicate with masses as an advantage for this. Even though the prints in the show are limited editions, they are a way to share the artist’s’ message across the world by creating affordable art,” he says. Kocyildirim wants to create a community of people where everyone has a chance to participate. Project Drums On Paper embodies his idea about collaboration and affordable art. Kocyildirim also supports DIY movement, because their share the same values: he doesn’t like the idea of being dependent on manufacturers or printshops, he prefers to figure out his own ways. «DIY means Do-It-Yourself but this doesn’t mean you have to do it alone! DIY communities are always so helpful because everyone loves problem-solving. They don’t care whose problem it is. They love to solve and help. It’s not that way when you or your product depend on a manufacturer,» admits Kocyildirim.

How Immigrant Artist Creates Affordable Art And A Borderless Community Of Creators

How Immigrant Artist Creates Affordable Art And A Borderless Community Of Creators

Kocyildirim is willing to invite more artists in order to collaborate and show what the Risograph is capable of. By now he has been working with 30 artists from different fields to prepare Drums On Paper. The spectrum of techniques used in this project was so wide – from illustration to photography, painting to bookmaking and sculptures.

His goal, for now, is expanding horizons and speaking more about DIY-art and collecting. Kocyildirim also hopes to tour with his Drums on Paper project: “I am in the process of thinking ways to travel with the prints, collaborate with artists from all over the world, and be a citizen of nowhere. That’s my ultimate goal. Hoping that one day Authorized to Work in the US can be Authorized to Work Anywhere.”

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