We caught up with Chelsea College of Arts (UAL) Short Course tutor Enver Gürsev about his painting practice, teaching and what advice he’d give to students. Enver teaches Oil Painting - Level 1.
Enver in his studio
How did you get into painting?
I have been painting and drawing from a very young age, in fact I don’t remember a time that I didn’t. My father is from a very artistic family with many painters, sculptors and musicians in the family and so he was always a huge encouragement for my painting as a youngster. I’ve always had an equal love for painting and sculpture, but I started painting with some instruction, when I was around 14 years old. From then, I always knew my life would be moored firmly within the art world.
What drives your creative practice?
A creative urge to make and produce my artwork is usually driven by a thematic obsession and the need to reinterpret aspects of that obsession into one’s own creative form. By doing so you appear to own, engage and unequivocally live the subject.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The most recent has been a very large and important commission for BP Shipping, to create 35 original artworks for their ships. For this particular project, I was very happy to be able to involve some of my artist ex-students from UAL. Equally I think having the privilege to be mentored by the late Sir Eduardo Paolozzi before and during my BA study was an unforgettable introduction to the art world.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at UAL?
Having the opportunity to instruct classes in traditional oil painting techniques and seeing the students’ rapid progress constantly reminds me of the very real purpose and benefits these classes have. Observing the sudden breakthroughs in the students’ work is a very satisfying thing to behold. Of course, as both artist and teacher, it is an honour to be part of UAL which is one of the top art institutions in the world.
What courses do you teach and what can students expect to learn from each course?
I teach Oil Painting - Level 1 which is a high-velocity course designed for the beginner or those who have some knowledge of painting with oil colours, although I do find even for intermediates the course is very beneficial. It touches on all the fundamentals one needs to know to get started on representational painting; from colour theory to the process of painting and reveals the very few crucial rules needed to create successful paintings.
What advice would you give to students building their creative future?
The artworld is no different to the rest of the world and accessing it can sometimes seem tough and impenetrable. You need a great deal of resilience and tenacity as an ally, but if you are honest with your work and your work speaks the truth you will make it to the first rung. From there, it’s up to you where you take it.