Istanbul Dispatch: Miniatures and Calligraphy

Kelly Hevel
01 September, 2014

For my first post with Atdaa I’m happy to introduce you to a fascinating denizen of Istanbul: meet Nick Merdenyan. Nick combines the ancient art of calligraphy with techniques and materials he has developed himself. The result is stunning works of art.

Nick in his tiny but beautiful shop.

Nick creates fantastically detailed miniature works of art on plant leaves which are hand-selected and prepared over weeks. He then prepares the surface of the leaves before the tiny details of these lovely works are painted using cat’s hair brushes. His work consists of words and representative images and often combines words from multiple religious texts from faiths including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism. He creates a fascinating and peaceful little world in his shop, which also includes a very fine collection of meerschaum pipes.

Detail of Nick’s shop and some of his work.

Nick is often copied but his work is never equaled, so to be sure you have found the real deal, look for Nick himself, manning his shop in the Grand Bazaar. You will be in good company considering his past visitors have included Hilary and Chelsea Clinton, Barbara Bush (he seems to be distinctly non-partisan!) and the queen of Spain, who, he mentioned with a chuckle, he asked, “what’s your name?” Note to self: after becoming famous, study up on royalty so as not to embarrass self when they stop by for a visit.

Here is a video you can learn more about Nick's Story:

Art Shopping Authentic Grand Bazaar Culture And History Buff Miniature
Kelly Hevel

An American living in Istanbul. Professional and amateur wordy girl. On a mission to demystify art and the creative practice. Debunker of the myth that art is only for experts. Crazy for storytelling, writing, art, culture.

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