‘The IQ-ME books are a wonderful creation; one that has a calming effect and can be therapeutic in times when obstacles in life are hindering your progress. The designs are unique in themselves yet the outcome of the image is entirely dependent on the choice of the individual armed with the colouring pencils; this helps them to produce their own masterpiece which could provide a sense of accomplishment. I felt that the books were easy to use, can provide distraction and focus during times of heightened emotional challenges and are suitable for all ages.
For myself, I did try to understand what the images were as I felt they were not clear (I’m no Picasso unfortunately) but they enable you to use your imagination in order to create something original.’
Benjamin Ensall, Health and Wellbeing Officer at Arts Educational Schools London
“IQ-ME 3, 4, 5 is a set of great quality, beautifully printed, colouring books for children and adults. There are two notable aspects to these books. The first is that they are completely black and white, delegating the use of colour entirely to the user. The second is that all the images in the book are created using only geometric figures - specifically triangles, circles, and squares - arranged in a variety of ways. Through these arrangements, diverse patterns and figures are emerge, designed to spark the user’s imagination in a spatial, and not just chromatic, way.
While they might initially seem too complex for children to colour, the fact that there are five books in the series, and that each one presents a different pattern for drawing (some more simplistic than others) is a fantastic invitation for users of all ages to dig into the infinite wonders of Euclidian geometry.
Another great aspect to this series, for all maniacs out there like me, is that every single pattern in the books is absolutely symmetrical on a vertical axis.”
Mariana de Heredia, PhD Iberian and Latin American Cultures, Stanford University
My life as a creative person but not as an artist
“Of course, I often think that everyone who isn’t making art is a failed artist, even those who never tried. I did try. More than try. I was an artist. Even sometimes a great one, I thought.”
Jerry Saltz in My Life As A Failed Artist (2017)
"In his essay My Life As A Failed Artist (2017), Jerry Saltz writes about his artistic experiences during his 20s and 30s. Saltz - a Pulitzer winner and senior art critic at New York magazine, argues his failures and regrets and opens the essay with “It pains me to say it, but I am a failed artist.” He explains how he misses to have a language beyond words and mysteries of beauty, colour and structure. He tells how he gave up against the inner demons and self-doubts. His open-hearted and self-reflective article inspired me to write about my own experiences, agony and fears in art-making. Although I don’t have a long and rich history as an artist, I did have several attempts to become one before I gave up.
In contrast to Jerry Saltz, I like looking back my work and telling people about the pure – usually political and non-Eurocentic - concepts that I criticised in each piece. I wanted to have a singular, surprising, and energised vision in my own way. I tried to use different art tools that were accessible for me from set designing to traditional ways of painting and drawing. I started when I was very young as a playwright and poet during middle school and high school. I took a private ballet course for 13 years. I loved modern ballet because it allowed me to express myself, both aggressively and sharply. I studied filmmaking and released non-linear site specific performances as a director and a performer. I love talking about my short films; I never trusted the strength of my artistic language but I did trust my knowledge on concepts, world literature and political ideologies. I needed to keep talking about them because I felt my artistic language wasn’t sufficient to reflect my ideas. I never trusted the doctor - shamanism and mysticism in creating art that positioned my work on a Cartesian coordinate system in the limitless universe of art. (meaning is not clear here. needs re-expressing).
I have always practised art inside an educational institution with a certain belief in knowledge and information. I am from an upper middle class family from a developing country who are increasingly concerned with quality. They are dissatisfied with the current state services and education system, so they tried to provide a higher education for their daughter. I have always read and written a lot; as I grew older, I began to see knowledge and information as my power. I saw the educational institutions that I was sent to as the source of intelligence and knowledge. If I wanted to be an intellectual - since my art-marking skills disappointed me - academia was an area which I could further explore, study more, learn more and write more. Now, I am doing a research masters in Exhibition Studies at Central Saint Martins, which allows me to be close to artists and designers and have the power of knowledge to be equal to them. However, my system of thought and my opinions about the power of knowledge and information has started to change.
Three essential concepts: information, knowledge and intelligence, occupy my mind frequently these days. As a practice to explore the possibility of expanding my own creativity and natural intelligence, I started to colour the colouring books of Johny Dar, IQ-ME. It created an awareness that emerged through paying attention in the present moment, non-judgmentally. I can describe my experiences with IQ-ME as a self- regulation. Instead of paying attention to information and my storage of information all the time, I began to pay attention to the process with IQ-ME: the process or the capacity to use information to respond ever-changing requirements. What will I do with my storage of information about art if I can’t use it in an artistic production in a studio or on stage? IQ-ME and its colouring exercises helped me with my frustration, and not only in a meditative way. I began to think about the concept of intelligence not as a form of knowledge but as a capacity to acquire, adapt, modify and extend information in order to solve problems. Instead of collecting information, IQ-ME guided me to focus on my intelligence, in other words my capacity. It gave me access to a clearer version of my self, a version who doesn’t judge herself continuously. It also created a mindful space for me, in which I feel more creative. Instead of forcing myself to try to get more information to be “like an artist” I can cleanly access existing information and be creative with it. I love being close to artists, even though I am not an artist myself, but I still can’t trust my aesthetic language. I trust the artistic knowledge that I have because I trust my intelligence to use the knowledge. In a way, IQ-ME made me more intelligent by liberating me from negative self-judgement by assisting me to focus on the present. From this space, I don’t think about myself as a failed artist but as an intelligent art-lover.”
Cemile Z. Eryilmaz, student, Central Saint Martins, London