Interview by Nora Partl

Esra Gülmen is a Turkish artist based in Berlin. With her background in design and expansive practice in typography, Gülmen combines humor and sadness, words and illustration. The result are artworks that resonate on an emotional level with an impressive following on Instagram and visitors in exhibitions offline and online all over the world. Gülmen speaks to a generation that grew up in the digital age, surrounded by laptops and smartphones, always searching to connect with humans via telling stories. Her narratives reflect daily challenges such as being a women in an age of hyper-capitalism. She seeks to spread her messages across the globe by giving comfort and saying, "You are not alone; we‘re in this together."

Gülmen regards her creative practice as a type of self-therapy, fuelled by human psychology and life’s everyday obstacles. The artist’s practice ranges from daily objects to paper works and wearable items, merging various aspects of daily life. She relates image to word or word to image, bringing to life a visual identity that talks about value, materialism, and consumerism.

Yesterday's Feelings Family, 2020.


1 Esra comes from a Turkish family with Eastern Anatolian roots and has two sisters, two brothers, three nieces, one nephew, and 20 cousins.

2 Esra is obsessed with star signs, and despite being an Aries with Sagittarius rising, astrologists say she has a lot of Pisces traits in her star map.

3 Esra, however, has never watched Star Wars.

4 Esra only sets alarm clocks ending on odd numbers like 07:01, 09:33, 12:03.

5 Esra is married to her favorite Turkish actor.

6 Esra loves cooking traditional Turkish food and one of her favourite things to do is grocery shopping. She is also, surprisingly, a great cook.

7 Although being based in Berlin since 2017, Esra is still unable to speak German and claims she has a learning disorder.

8 Esra likes to sing a lot, and she has taken some musical and classical singing classes, both in Istanbul and Berlin.

9 Esra has already designed her own gravestone.

10 Esra feels a bit uncomfortable writing her facts in the third person and calling herself Esra.

I Do Give a Fuck, 2022.

Esra Gülmen (1986, Istanbul) is an artist based in Berlin. After graduating from Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts with a degree in Interior Design,she worked as an academic for three years teaching basic design at the same faculty. Over the years, she established herself as a Design Executive Officer for Europe’s acclaimed advertising agency Ogilvy Germany and as Head of Design at Heimat Berlin before dedicating herself to art. As a member of ADC Germany, Gülmen has been selected four times in a row as one of the ‘200 Best Illustrators Worldwide’ by Lürzer’s Archive Magazine and was invited as a speaker to various festivals such as OFFF Festival, Forward Festival and Pictoplasma Festival. Moreover, she has been a jury member for various design awards including Cannes Lions, One Show andEurobest. Besides numerous group shows, she has had solo exhibitions in Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin and Istanbul.