Özge Samanci was born in Izmir, Turkey. She started drawing comics at a young age and soon went on to publish comics for a weekly Turkish satirical magazine. After studying film and television at Istanbul Bilgi University, she travelled to the United States to earn a master’s degree in communication studies at Ohio University followed by a PhD in digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
In 2011, Samanci published her dissertation »Embodying Comics: Reinventing Comics and Animation for a Digital Performance«. Since 2006 she has shared observations and memories in an online journal called »Ordinary Things« (www.ordinarycomics.com), where she experiments with a mixture of drawings and collages using water and acrylics as well as various materials and found objects. At first glance, Samanci’s work appears simple; however, on closer inspection it reveals a multitude of layers into which she weaves inspiring and semi-autobiographical knowledge and experiences. Her online journal continues to serve as a platform for reflections on her current life and past experiences, and she also used it as the starting point for her first book project »Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey« (2015). In this humorous and fiercely honest graphic memoir, the artist takes stock of her childhood in a country ruled by a military dictatorship and divided by Islamic fundamentalism and secular, Western values. In the course of the memoir, she draws parallels between a nation looking for its identity and the main figure’s search for her own voice and life path. Samanci succeeds in revealing a number of universal elements that go beyond her unique and detailed story, especially in her portrayal of a young and highly imaginative girl struggling to confront the expectations of her father, who only wants his imaginative daughter to become an engineer to have a safe future in an economically unstable culture. In a recent interview, when asked about the theme of her next book, Samanci noted that she was still undecided as to whether she would continue to work through her own experiences, which include attending a science-oriented high school where the majority of students were men, or whether she would take a stab at fiction, in which case she expressed the desire to work in a genre recently coined by the American cartoonist and author Lynda Barry as »autobiofictionography«.
Samanci’s digital images and interactive installations have been shown in galleries and as part of installations all over the world, for example, at the SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in the USA. Today, she is an assistant professor at Northwestern University and lives in Chicago, Illinois.