I was recently introduced to the work of artist Defne Inceoglu from St. Catharines, Ontario. I was immediately attracted to her animal rights watercolours, which she describes as humorous and insightful, and knew I wanted to feature them on my blog. Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with Defne who was willing to chat with me further about herself and her artwork. If you are looking to do some early Christmas shopping or adorn the walls of your living space with some art Defne’s prints might just be your cup of tea!
J: How old are you and how do you spend your time?
D: I’m twenty-two years-old. On top of my busy life as a vegan server and working artist, I attend Brock University full-time, I major in Art History with a specialization in Curatorial Studies. I am also a musician, although I don’t tour or record as much as I used to.
J: When and why did you become vegan?
D: I went vegan immediately after moving out of my parents place in September 2012, at the start of my first year in university. I was vegetarian for most of my teenage years, from about fourteen years-old. It just felt like a natural and smooth transition; I didn’t really give it much thought. I just knew in my heart it was what I needed to do.
J: When did you get into visual art and how do people respond to your animal rights related pieces?
D: I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. I have worked professionally since age sixteen, selling and doing commissions regularly. I have had an amazing reception to my animal rights related work. People find them funny and my prints make great gifts— at least that’s what I think! I am lucky to live in St. Catharines which is a community filled with wonderful, supportive, like-minded people.
J: What inspired you to create these images and do you hope to achieve anything with them?
D: I made them to be funny. I don’t really identify with radical and serious veganism. I tend to take a humorous approach to many aspects of life. Although I am a strict vegan, I don’t like being aggressive and pushy when it comes to explaining and sharing my beliefs. I wanted to make something poignant and insightful while also being playful.
J: You work at a vegan restaurant, what’s that like? Do you get a lot of non vegan patrons? What kinds of challenges do you encounter at work?
D: I do! I’m a server and I run the Instagram (@riseaboverestaurant) at Rise Above Restaurant and Bakery in downtown St. Catharines. I’d say since we are a popular spot despite being 100% vegan, probably half or more of our customers are non-vegans. It’s so exciting! I do get sour faces from dads who are dragged by their families, but they usually end up loving it.
The lunch crowd can be a challenge though! We field a lot of complaints at that time of day. But it’s all about keeping your head up and ensuring that everyone has a great dining experience.
J: Anything else you’d like to include about your interests/hobbies/activism/veganism/art etc.
D: My veganism is an organic part of my personality and I use it to spread and feel love for my friends. It helps me to be a compassionate person. I am what I like to call a ‘quiet activist’. I respect everyone no matter who they are or what they eat. That’s the best way to live.
Where to find Defne…
If you enjoyed this post please feel free to share via social media! Follow Dining to Know on Facebook or Instagram or Email so you never miss a post.