Rene Women Interviews 0004: Basak Cakir
Basak Cakir’s journey from the fast-paced corporate world in Istanbul to the picturesque coastal town of Bodrum was a quest for a more meaningful existence. Her search for a fulfilling career led her to establish Pozzo, a charming art gallery and shop that exudes the personal touch of an art collector’s office or studio.
The displays at Pozzo showcase a diverse array of artwork, from large-format framed photographs to dainty gold bands, all thoughtfully and tastefully arranged. Basak has a keen eye for design and enjoys connecting artists with potential customers. Despite having no official title, Basak has found her true calling by designing the interiors of homes and restaurants, carving out a unique and beautiful second career in Bitez.
Pozzo isn’t just about selling art; for Basak, it is a crucial part of supporting new artists and cultivating an ecosystem that fosters creativity. Although selling art may not be the easiest or quickest way to make a profit, Basak recognizes its importance and takes great pride in letting young artists know when their work has found a new fan or sold a piece.
One of the most remarkable things about Basak’s life is how small and intimate it is. Her home, a charming and unique piece of art in itself, is just a quick stroll away from her art gallery, while her husband’s restaurant is connected to Pozzo. Basak’s exquisite taste is evident in every detail of her space, from the elegant soft arches to the oversized elements such as the giant fireplace and oven.
Basak’s home is a true reflection of her personality and design preferences, featuring plenty of light, easy spaces that are both functional and comfortable, and that allow ample room for art and gatherings. It is a marriage of Turkish and Greek aesthetics, and the structure itself seems to have been carved from the surrounding stone formations.
Basak’s story is one of reinvention and the pursuit of meaning and purpose. Her journey from corporate life to a fulfilling second career and a peaceful, intimate life in Bitez serves as an inspiration to anyone seeking to find their own path.
Stef: What is Pozzo?
Basak: It is mostly a place to buy art, to be introduced to many new and some well-established artists. We carry mostly local art, from around Bodrum. And we also have handmade objects like jewelry, ceramics, pottery– design for home or your self.
S: When did you begin your business?
B: 3 years ago, during the pandemic. Everyone thought we were crazy, but it ended up being an advantage. Because we were all here, stuck together, and we could work on this plan. Pozzo is really a gift from the restaurant Kurul, which is right next door. Our tiny store is at the end of their building, and my husband is a part of the ownership of Kurul. There was this very small extra space, and since I had so many connections with artists, I decided to try to have a store. We started small and then after a while I began getting lots of calls from artists.
S: What is your background?
B: I’m self-taught. I came from a marketing and visual design corporate world. After I left my job in Istanbul and we moved here to Bitez, I started designing the interior of homes. I don’t even know what you would call me. I love art and design and being a connector of artists to the right person. I did a lot of the design at Kurul. It was a collective project, but I think I’m good at having a vision and then working with artisans and artists to make it happen.
S: What are some of the pieces you have at home?
B: I have a lot of art on the walls.
S: What is your own home like?
B: I fell in love with my home when we were driving around looking for a new home in Bodrum/Bitez. My home is very special. It already had so much character and uniqueness before we moved in. It’s simple and functional and filled with light and there’s a lot of art on the walls.
S: What’s your favorite room in your home?
B: I most love the spaces where I can be social. The house is really open and it also opens up to the garden. We also have a guest house in the back and I really love that I can open my space up to when friends come or people need help. During the early part of the war in Ukraine, I made my space available at no cost, because that’s why we’re here, to be a part of life.
S: What do you love most about your business?
B: I really love seeing or hearing the excitement of an artist (especially a new one) when I call to tell them that someone is interested in or has purchased their art. It’s really very fulfilling.
S: What are your favorite places in Bodrum?
B: Of course I really love Vamos. It’s just across the street. For swimming, Ortakent. Really I have all I need here in Bitez. I can walk to work from home, and we have a very close and creative community here. I also love having coffee at Hey Joe.