Spotlight: Mertcan Mertbilek

To wrap up the year, we're launching Spotlight to focus on Creative Commission members with stories to tell. Next up, we hear from Istanbul-based animator Mertcan Mertbilek, who has created several beautiful animated commissions via CC over the years while also touring with his band. Over to you, Mertcan...

My name is Mertcan Mertbilek, I'm a visual artist specialising in animated music videos and I'm also a musician and songwriter.

I have run a boutique animation studio in Istanbul since 2010 called Gentlemen Visuals and studied art in high school and animation in college. After my graduation I've started working as a freelance animation artist. I've worked with Concord Music, Universal Music, Sony Music UK, Island Records, George Harrison Foundation, NIKE, 300 Entertainment, PIAS, Warner Music and had chance to create for legendary artists such as Santana, Ray Charles, Ravi Shankar and Elvis Costello.

I love my job because animation has endless possibilities - I love that! Also, you have that power to create with a small group of people or mostly just by yourself.

2020 was a super busy year for me. It started with a US tour with my band Palmiyeler, and ended with creating lots of music videos. In February we supported The Mattson 2 at the east coast leg of their 2020 tour, and when the pandemic hit New York I turned back to Istanbul. Since March I've created several music videos and also had lots of time to record new stuff.

I've created this animated music video for Avi Kaplan track It Knows Me, I like the psychedelic feeling of this video.

I love my job because animation has endless possibilities

I've also created three music videos for rock band Seether, Shaun, the vocalist/songwriter, had great ideas for the videos and it was an awesome experience making a series of videos with similar styles. I've also had a great time making a visualiser for A.O. Gerber and a collage music video for Brek.

Creative inspirations

I liked the latest The Chats video AC/DC CD, it's fun and energetic. I also love two other Australian bands Babe Rainbow and King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard. Babe Rainbow released another nice Kristofski video this year and King Gizzard keeps releasing several albums and music videos in one year.

I love Robert Rauschenberg's prints and collage works. I'm also huge fan of Eduardo Paolozzi. These two artists inspire me a lot. Winston Hacking creates amazing videos. I like how he combines and edits videos and images.