İzmir’s young artist wins education in prestigious Vienna academy
Born in 1998 and raised in İzmir’s low-income Agora district, as one of the four children of a shoemaker father and a housewife mother, İlhan has succeeded in achieving a life he dreamt of despite financial difficulties and difficult conditions.
At the age of 13, İlhan applied to the Teslime Başak Özkutlu’s workshop in İzmir’s Kardıçalı Inn and said that he wanted to learn how to paint. But his application was not accepted due to his age. With an art teacher, he went to Özkutlu’s workshop again and finally was accepted to the workshop. He worked in cafes and restaurants in order to afford to buy his paints, pens and other materials.
Thanks to the education at Özkutlu’s workshop, İlhan first graduated from the Işılay Saygın Fine Arts High School with a degree and then won the Painting Department of Dokuz Eylül Faculty of Fine Arts Faculty.
While continuing his university education, İlhan applied to the Vienna Academy of Arts, which is among the best schools in the world. He was among eight talented young painters who were accepted from all over the world to the workshop of Daniel Richter, one of the important names in modern art history.
Giving free lessons to her students and supporting them for years, Özkutlu also asked for the support of the world of arts and science for İlhan, who struggled with financial difficulties, to go to Vienna. İlhan now struggles to go to the famous school, where famous figures of history of art like Egon Schiele graduated from.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, İlhan said that he was trying to discover his talents from a young age, and that his family morally supported him, even if not financially.
Expressing that the person who shaped his life was Özkutlu, İlhan said, “I hope my life continues with art. I am very happy to be accepted to the workshop of an artist like Daniel Richter. Fortunately, I continued painting. I think I am on the right track.”
İlhan said that he was working on papers with collages and wanted to improve himself, and that the Vienna Art Center was a great and beautiful target for him to “sail into the ocean.”
Stating that he worked hard to overcome his financial problems and if he could go to Vienna, he wanted to study there without being a burden on anyone.
“It is very important to achieve this success. I want to see what I can do too. For this goal, from the age of 15, I worked as a waitress and sold tea at cafes. I also worked in markets. I am still having trouble in getting my paints. Paint, brushes, papers are expensive things. If I can finish three years of education in Vienna, I would like to make my parents smile. They are also very happy, but uneasy at the same time. This journey that people helped me with has greatly improved my empathy. I would also like to support talented low-income children if I succeed.”