Gültekin Bilge (pronounced Beelgay) is a Turkish Cypriot Artist. He was born in 1945 in Ceyhan, Paphos. He studied at the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts, working at the ateliers of Devrim Erbil, Ali Çelebi and Dinçer Erimez. He graduated from the Dinçer Erimez atelier of the Academy in 1972.
Tragically, the artist was shot in the right hand with a dumdum bullet during the 1974 war in Cyprus. His hand was saved by doctors but he lost fine motor skills and it was many years before he regained the ability to draw and paint. Despite many difficulties Gültekin maintained his artistic vision as he was determined to try to establish an original contemporary Turkish style of painting. Throughout the long years of recovery he experimented with a variety of different methods in order to develop his own signature style and technique. Very few of his works have survived from the period 1974-2005. He began to paint again professionally in 2006.
Gültekin’s artistic development can be traced through his paintings. Whilst he consistently employs vibrant colour there has been an investigative journey through form and texture. Making up for lost time he has worked at a furious pace resulting in a very productive period from 2006 onwards. He has restlessly explored different forms and developed new techniques. He researched the forms of old Uygur Turkish writing and experimented with ways to adapt them into oil painting using the sgrafitto technique. These forms which he now calls T-weave (Turkish weave) began to emerge in late 2006-7 and are predominant in the paintings produced in 2008. He also developed the whirling technique, which materialises in the 2009 artworks. This new style of oil painting was created by adapting the forms of traditional Turkish marbling (a water based technique to imprint designs onto paper). The result generates a similar visual effect to marbling although often with a very high gloss finish. In 2010 he began breaking away from the convention of a rectangular frame to produce carved wooden images with multiple compositions. During 2011 he experimented with developing the dissolve technique using a combination of Cedar resin, oil paint and alkyd gel.
More information about the artist and an online gallery of his Original Artworks and Limited Edition Prints can be viewed on his website.