To hear Sharon Litwin’s interview with Nurhan Gokturk on WWNO radio, click here.
One has to wonder why a smart young urban planner/architect, a founding partner in a cutting-edge New York-based design firm, would want to create a Mardi Gras Bead Dog to join the dozens already guarding the streets of New Orleans. Nurhan Gokturk says it’s simple.
“It’s fun. There’s a component of laughter to it and it’s very approachable both for children and adults.”
But that’s not all. For Nurhan, it was an opportunity to work on his first piece of sculpture. Architect that he is, he couldn’t just paint the thing and call it quits. So he called on fellow artist Steve Ulness, to help him do something a tad more dramatic. Together they cut up the original model dog, reconfigured its appearance, stood it up on its hind legs, painted it with two types of fancy paint and incorporated scores of New Orleans- and Mardi Gras-themed words and phrases all over it. All this as part of the LA/SPCA’S Paws on Parade project to raise awareness for animal welfare.
Come July 6th, the world can go view the Throw-Me-Something-Mister dog in Lafayette Square and see if they can find the 61 words and phrases embedded in it.
Now that he’s completed his first sculptural object, Nurhan says it absolutely won’t be his last. Born in Turkey, Nurhan came as a child with his family to New York City. Educated there, he received a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute and then earned a Master in Urban Design from Harvard. A pre-Katrina import, he came to New Orleans more than a decade ago to design and develop the first New Orleans-style modular home. Since 2004, working with developers, builders and non-profit organizations, he has built more than 100 of them on blighted and abandoned properties.
Now Nurhan chooses to spend half his time in New Orleans, working on art projects and half back in NYC working on urban design.
“I like to have this cross-cultural exchange,” he says. When he’s here, he paints and experiments on multi-media art projects while continuing to explore the varied architectural styles of our many neighborhoods.
When he’s in New York, he participates with his Planetary One partners on projects that assimilate ecological elements into urban territories. That’s a fancy urban design-speak way of describing a firm of urban and landscape designers, architects and scientists who work to fit any given design project into the natural world.
For more information on the LA/SPCA Paws on Parade, a project that will continue through late September 2012 culminating in an auction on Sept. 27 of sculptures not yet purchased, click here. For more information on Planetary One, click here.
The skinny on “W.O.O.F”:
Who: Designed by Nurhan Gokturk, the sculpture is called “W.O.O.F.” but is also known as “Throw Me Something Mister.”
What: It is hand-painted with iridescence paints that will appear to change color as the angle of view or the angle changes. The base colors are gold, puple and green.
What else: The words painted on the dog are themed around Mardi Gras and New Orleans Food.They are (in no particular order):
Sharon Litwin is president of NolaVie.