Interview: Ilhan Tolga Ergun
Luca Curci talks with Ilhan Tolga Ergun during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – 9TH EDITION and during VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021 – 14TH EDITION, at Misericordia Archives.
Ilhan Tolga Ergun was born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1990. Between 2006 and 2014, he experienced living in Canada, England and Italy and studied in universities like Concordia University (Canada), Central Saint Martins (England), NABA – Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (Italy). In 2014, he returned to his home country and opened his own studio to work on his paintings. His interest in using colors in different techniques made him curious and lead him to create different painting series in different styles like abstracts, portraits and landscapes.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Ilhan Tolga Ergun – I have to say that having lived in several countries like Turkey, Canada, England and Italy inspired me a lot. Experiencing different cultures made me look at things in different ways. However, I have always been passionate about creating my own language with my own style of using colors and reflecting my thoughts on my canvas.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
ITE – I like to have full control in my studio. So depending on my mood, I reorganize my brushes, paints and everything to feel fully ready and concentrated. Also, I have to say that there is music most of the time. Sometimes I put the volume to the max not to be able to think too much and not to get distracted, to fully focus on the subject of the work, and sometimes I lower the volume to make fun of my thoughts/myself and reflect that joy on my canvas. Of course, I can’t skip saying that I have to spend some quality time with my dogs before all this.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
ITE – Almost everything can be challenging for a perfectionist like me when it comes to painting. Also, there are way too many things to be distracted by in the world nowadays. But I see my studio as my own secret country and it is also a playground for me. Of course, creating artwork can sometimes be hard or challenging but I always try to find a fun way to do my work. When I am in my studio, I try to become the best version of myself and reflect that energy to my work and I try to make the journey as much fun as possible until I finish what I do.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
ITE – I like storytelling. I like to tell a good story and I listen very carefully when someone else is telling a good one. I collect them in my memory and after some time I remember them and try to find different aspects in them. I think about “what if”s in those stories and at that point, a whole new story begins. I get inspired by those stories and sometimes I just reflect them directly to my canvas and sometimes I merge them with what’s happening around me and around the world. So that being said, the process is mostly instinctive. Both reasoned and instinctive actually but mostly instinctive. Because I feel something purer comes out when I work that way. Also, even if it is a reasoned process, I find myself acting instinctively about the subject of the artwork.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
ITE – During my childhood, drawing caricatures and making comic books was my favorite thing to do. To be honest, I was afraid of using paint at first because I was a control freak and I was scared of ruining what I was drawing. Then one day during those years, I had the courage to try different materials and I haven’t stopped since then. From that point on, stopping and creating in the same styles became my biggest battle because when it comes to painting, I like the change and I don’t want to stop exploring.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
ITE – It is always great to see different artists from different disciplines at the same exhibition and it is amazing being a part of it.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
ITE – These portraits are from a painting series called “Ilochrome”. “Ilochrome” is a project that I have been wanting to do for a long time. It is inspired by the photographs I have been taking over the years. I have been asking people to look at me as emotionless as possible and to stand still and I used those photographs for the layouts of my paintings. The rest is all improvised because I wanted to make them speak with colors. “Ilo” is my nickname from my childhood so the concept of “Ilochrome” is making what I see speak with my knowledge of using colors.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
ITE – This is my first experience with ITSLIQUID GROUP and I have to say everything is going very professionally.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
ITE – I would definitely suggest other artists to collaborate. It is an opportunity to be seen by a large and international community. I would like to thank ITSLIQUID GROUP for their service. I just wish they could find alternative ways to promote artists to make it more possible to sell their artworks.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
ITE – It is very clear and easy to access information about other artworks and artists on the website. Also, it is always interesting to read articles and interviews.