We had the good fortune of connecting with Ece Yildirok and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ece, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
so ece, my art shop, is the baby of crushed dreams and a pandemic.
It sounds a little backwards but here is what happened:
I am a live events industry professional of twenty years who migrated to Los Angeles from Turkey about a decade ago. After years of typical immigrant struggles, misfortunes, stubbornness and hard-work, I got the dream job and started on March 2nd, 2020. One week later a global pandemic was declared and I got laid off with no hope of going back or finding a job in my profession anywhere else as a large-scale event producer, not to mention it is an incredibly competitive industry to begin with.
Life has a funny way of tipping you out of your comfort zone. When the lockdown began, I found solace in painting. I mean, frantic, neurotic, non-stop painting. I was mostly coping with the sense of loss of my career and the feeling of unknown. As a kid I was very interested in and good at art. Like many I was encouraged to pursue more “stable” careers by my parents and this became a long forgotten passion. With the sensory deprivation the COVID19 lock down brought, I connected with my inner world in a way I was not able to do before. The more I painted the more I fell in love with painting (or remembered my love for painting) and started selling my work. More and more people asked to purchase my art and I decided to open shop. Now museum quality, giclée prints of my art work is available at www.so-ece.com and I can’t remember how I lived without painting before.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
At so ece, I am telling stories and feelings that do not exclusively belong to or need to be validated by any class, group, institution, or tradition. We are made to believe we are not good enough. We are conditioned to constantly fighting what we are; by way of media, social judgement, tradition. I paint an attitude that stands up to this. My main motive is to portray the beauty of the ordinary. I want and hope everyone who ever felt like they don’t fit in, they are not enough, they are different, to find acceptance and love in my art, as they are. I mostly find myself reflecting concepts of self-acceptance, inner peace, self-actualization and female empowerment as well as elements of my bi-cultural background as a Turkish artist living in Los Angeles.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Definitely hiking a bunch of favorite trails and some beach days. Eat at Mary’s Market before a hike. Some rooftops in Downtown LA and the art district. Zinc and Cafe Gratitude are great vegan eats around here. Prepandemic Wisdome LA was a favorite experience stop.
Would do the usual museum tours, LACMA & Getty, Norton Simon. Visit the Lake Shrine Temple.
Daves Hot Chicken, All About The Bread, The Chaumont in Beverly Hills are the best guilty pleasures. And I usually take out of towners to No Vacancy or Harvelles for a unique speak easy experience.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I received so much praise and support from my friends and extended network, beyond my expectations. This motivated and challenged me to create more. A significant influence came from an early buyer who commissioned 15 original paintings which changed my mindset to approach this professionally. I got a lot of commissioned work after this. Also my boyfriend Zak Tarkhan and close friends Azize & Can Erim have been huge supporters. They lifted me up every time I doubted myself and helped me in ways I couldn’t imagine.
And of course, I feel butterflies in my stomach every time a complete stranger buys my work or if someone goes out of their way to tell me how much they love my art.