Ghent - UP-AND-COMING - Leyla Aydoslu
CH Hi Leyla, thanks for your time - I'm happy to get to know you and your work. So what sparks the light in you, why did you become an artist and chose Ghent as your home base?
LA In high school, I was unhappy and bored with all the theoretical courses, so I decided to swap my science courses for art courses. I didn't have much background in art, so a whole new world opened up for me when I learned more about it. I was completely intrigued by the artists I got to know. Rationally, there was a lot I didn’t understand, but I felt stimulated and curious to learn more. I decided to study arts in Ghent after I had finished high school. A few years after I graduated from High School I did HISK (a post graduate program) also in Ghent. I never really decided to stay here, but I got stuck here because new opportunities kept on coming up. Now I’m teaching painting and sculpture at a university in Ghent. It’s also a nice and cozy city and very close to Antwerp and Brussels.
CH What fascinates you about the sculptural work and medium itself?
LA I started off as a painter, but gradually began to use other materials than just paint. I don’t think I even chose this medium, it was rather a slow and natural evolution towards sculpture. I think it’s a good medium to express myself. It's not trying to mimic something external (as often is the case in painting), it can just be itself.
CH Are there any other artists that influenced you in particular and were quite important for your work?
LA I think there’s a long list of artists who have influenced me: Phyllida Barlow, Franz West, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Tuttle, Julian Schnabel, Isa Genzken,… To just name a few.
CH For many artists it's a constant struggle between doing what they love and financing their everyday life. Special programs and scholarships can be a good opportunity for young emerging artists. Do you know any related programs in Ghent maybe open to application for foreigners, too?
LA As I mentioned before, I followed HISK (Higher Institute of Fine Arts). For me it was really interesting, and I would recommend it, but its future is quite uncertain because it won’t be subsidized any longer.
CH Let's dive more into your cities' amenities. What are your favorite places in Ghent to experience art or to just have a good time, eat well etc.?
LA There are not so many galleries or museums in Ghent. We have two museums: SMAK for contemporary art and MSK shows works from the 14th till 20th century. There are a few galleries and quite some artist run projects. I've been living in Ghent already for more than 10 years, but I still love to walk through its old streets.
CH What are your wishes for the future when it comes to living and working in Ghent? Anything that should be changed?
LA I’m dreaming of a bigger studio! :-D
CH If you could start all over again as an artist, what would you do differently? What did you learn so far when it comes to engaging in the art scene?
LA I try to avoid asking myself these ‘what if’ questions. But what I learned is probably that it isn't easy to survive as an artist, but also that it’s totally fine that it isn’t easy. Maybe it doesn’t have to be easy. It keeps you sharp and alert.
CH Ok, then only one last look "back" and one into the future: how was 2022 for you and what are you looking forward to in 2023?
LA I struggled quite a bit in 2022. I learned that stress caused by deadlines and focusing too much on results can take away the joy of creating. In 2023, I want to take time to enjoy my work more and the whole process of making.