I think of my artworks as a safe space that intends to empower people. Often drawing inspiration from real figures and events, I create digital media that explore the general theme of rediscovering and rebuilding oneself, either on a personal or collective basis. Having touched on subjects as diverse as mental health, comparative histories of Dutch and Turkish LGBTQ+ movements and the role of pets in human life, my work invites audiences to reflect on their own relationship with themselves and their surroundings.
Each of my projects consists of multiple paintings, grouped around specific themes and meanings. I pick these themes by drawing inspiration from my own personal struggles of having grown up as a gay man in a small, Turkish town in the 90s as well as a varying degree of historical research I conduct.
In terms of methodology, I like to use the space of the museum to initiate dialogue by encouraging audiences to interact with the artwork, empowering them make an honest connection instead of just an opinion. This can happen in many forms. I currently do this by printing two pieces for each artwork, placing them side by side and asking the audiences to interact ONLY with the second piece using paint, crayons or a pen. This way, the process of personal and collective rediscovery I’m encouraging comes to life in the difference between the artwork that audiences collectively transform and the artwork that remains untouched.
Ulas Uygun is an Amsterdam based new media artist, illustrator and graphic designer. He produces digital paintings that blend Ottoman miniature painting with contemporary portraiture as well as other figurative work around the themes of mental health and queer communities from his native Istanbul and Amsterdam. His work has been exhibited at Amsterdam A’DAM&Co, NDSM Fuse, and Istanbul XMAM, among others. His solo exhibition Purple Passport traced remarkable stories of queer figures from his native Istanbul to Amsterdam.
Uygun holds 3 degrees: a BSc inManagement Information Systems from Bogaziçi University, a MA in BusinessAdministration from Bogaziçi University and a BA in New Media from University of Amsterdam. Following his studies, Uygun has worked as a brand manager for 5 years before deciding to pursue a professional career in art. Besides his native Turkish, Uygun is fluent in Italian and English.