Artistic Inspiration from Mehmet Sander

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A little over a year ago, I wrote a short blog post about Mehmet Sander. I just came across a few more videos of his work on-line, so I got inspired to write a bit more about him now. Mehmet is a choreographer-dance who taught me a lot. Above is a video documenting his piece Obtuse Space – performed by six dancers, including Mehmet, on a set that includes a flat and a sloped area.

I met him when I was living in Long Beach in the 1990s. He ran the Mehmet Sander Dance Company, which I ended up volunteering and helping out with administratively for a couple years, mostly schlepping around sets, designing and selling T-shirts, and sitting in on rehearsals… sometime sketching, sometimes just being inspired.

As I wrote before “he showed me how vital and real and precious it is to find and hone one’s own unique artistic voice. And assisting with managing the company showed me that, with a lot of work and focus and passion, people can do world-class things on a shoe-string budget with seat-of-the-pants operations.”

Here’s a short documentary about Mehmet Sander, including some of his wonderfully strong convictions about dance (and how it doesn’t need music.) I still hear his voice when I see dance performances… his critiques made a lasting impression on me.

A lot of this video was filmed at a fundraiser concert that I helped produce – at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro. I drew a flier for this, and I did a lot of the work helping promote and schlepping stuff… and I remember it went really well.

I actually appear briefly in this video (starting at about 6:32.) My stuff was filmed during a workshop that I participated in. I remember being very inspired by these workshops (as well as feeling sore) – but they definitely got me going on exploring my art (visual art – drawing and painting – which I now post here) … encouraging me to play with it and to find things that were pushy and true.

My friendship with Mehmet Sander was one of the best things to ever happen to my art.

Mehmet Sander

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