In the tradition of 20th century calligrams, Esra Gülmen seeks to expand the definition of drawing. She redefines the medium by recalling the visual images that poets like Apollinaire formed out of their writings and responding to them with her own century's reality and discourses about current trends, popular culture, and activism.
By utilizing words to complete her images or vice versa, the artist encourages the audience to participate in an experimental study in the psychology of reading and image perception.
Before dedicating herself to art, Berlin-based Esra Gülmen studied interior design, taught design at her university’s Faculty of Fine Art’s Department of Interior Design, and followed a career as an art director for international companies.
Gülmen regards her creative practice as a type of self-therapy, fuelled by human psychology and life’s everyday obstacles. The artist’s practice ranges from daily objects to paper works and wearable items, merging various aspects of daily life. She relates image to word or word to image, bringing to life a visual identity that talks about value, materialism, and consumerism.
1 Esra comes from a Turkish family with Eastern Anatolian roots and has two sisters, two brothers, three nieces, one nephew, and 20 cousins.
2 Esra is obsessed with star signs, and despite being an Aries with Sagittarius rising, astrologists say she has a lot of Pisces traits in her star map.
3 Esra, however, has never watched Star Wars.
4 Esra only sets alarm clocks ending on odd numbers like 07:01, 09:33, 12:03.
5 Esra is married to her favorite Turkish actor.
6 Esra loves cooking traditional Turkish food and one of her favourite things to do is grocery shopping. She is also, surprisingly, a great cook.
7 Although being based in Berlin since 2017, Esra is still unable to speak German and claims she has a learning disorder.
8 Esra likes to sing a lot, and she has taken some musical and classical singing classes, both in Istanbul and Berlin.
9 Esra has already designed her own gravestone.
10 Esra feels a bit uncomfortable writing her facts in the third person and calling herself Esra.
Please click HERE to browse through the available work by Gülmen.
Esra Gülmen (b. 1986) has graduated from Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Interior Design. She worked as an assistant professor, designer, and art director for several years. Gülmen had solo exhibitions in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Berlin, as well as several group shows. She was selected for the list of "200 Best Illustrators Worldwide" four times in a row by Lürzer's Archive Magazine, and she has won many international awards, including Cannes Lions, One Show, D&AD, Eurobest, LIA – London International Awards, Epica, and ADC Germany.