Zeynep Tekiner is first and foremost an artist. She draws her inspiration from the chaos inherent in the everyday, and focuses her artistic attentions primarily on portraiture. As such, Tekiner often depicts her friends, family, and sometimes even the strangers she encounters on the streets. An international-driven artist, Zeynep has lived and painted in Switzerland and Turkey as well as her native New York, where she currently lives and studies.
While she was born in Manhattan, Zeynep spent most of her early years in Scarsdale, New York. After finishing high school, Zeynep opted to travel abroad for college. She landed in Switzerland shortly after to begin attending Franklin University. In 2003, she graduated from the institution with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Communication Arts, with an additional minor in Studio Art and Literature.
Once she received her undergraduate degree, Zeynep Tekiner traveled to Turkey. As a first-generation Turkish-American herself, Zeynep sought to immerse herself in the nation’s culture and art. Tekiner painted in private studios in Ankara and Istanbul for years before settling at Neriman Polat’s studio in Istanbul in 2008. She studied under Polat – a notable installation and media artist – for six years. In her final year, Zeynep Tekiner worked with two other Istanbul-based artists to organize and launch a group show – entitled “Spectacle” – at the Akatlar Cultural Center.
During her years living in Turkey, Zeynep found herself increasingly attuned to the effect that political divisions and social tensions had on the ordinary, daily lives of those around her. As various factions of Turkey’s population struggled to define a “true” Turkish identity, Zeynep began attempting to capture the social anxiety she witnessed. As a result, Tekiner’s artistic style evolved into one characterized by its irony, humor, duality, and quiet awareness of the chaos inherent even in the ordinary. In painting the body, Zeynep Tekiner strives to capture a commonality in the human experience, and to distill the tensions that simmer in everyday life.
In 2015, Zeynep left Ankara for New York City. She continued to pursue her love of painting by enrolling in certification courses at the New York Academy of Art. After receiving her certification in Fine Art in early 2016, Tekiner enrolled in a Master’s program at the same institution. She intends to complete her MFA by the spring of 2018, and to continue creating art independently following her graduation.
In her spare time, Zeynep enjoys exploring art exhibits across New York City.