Alpay Efe is a painter who lives and works in Germany. With years of practice, Alpay has mastered oil painting and creates immensely beautiful and astonishing pieces of work. His large-scale portraits and more intimate smaller works carry a striking liveliness and ignite an enchanting spark in the viewer. We had the chance to speak with him about favourite materials, inspiration, what advice he has for other artists.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and your practice?
I studied at an art school that is considered one of the top institutions: the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie. But true learning and studying only began after I had graduated and started my own studio. I truly believe in life-long learning and through my ongoing practice, I’m continuously involved in this process. You too can join at any time in your life. To develop your artistic senses and painting abilities, you just need to practice. No studies at fancy institutions required!
What inspires you and how do you stay motivated?
I believe that to start painting on a blank surface you just need to start doing so (and not wait for inspiration to hit you like a magical lightning bolt). However, I do invest in broad activities to entertain my mind aside from my painting practice. Anything can count as inspiration, it could be a film, comics, or a shared meal with friends – if you allow to immerse yourself with open eyes into the world, even into everyday situations, you will be able to gather an abundance of creative material to inform your art.
How do you ﬁnd working with Winsor & Newton materials?
For an artist, it is true bliss to discover new materials and colours. I’m amazed at the craftsmanship that goes into creating oil paints. Winsor & Newton have a rich history and many artists before me have used their oils to develop their paintings, I’m grateful to be part of this tradition. Ever since I started painting with oils, I’ve been a heavy user of Liquin, an amazing medium that helps oils to dry faster and allows me to develop my paintings in my own unique speed.
What do you think of the new Cadmium Free Colours?
I always welcome innovative ideas to make materials more sustainable for nature and artists’ health. To have a real choice when it comes to working with cadmium colours is amazing, to use an alternative that is just as bright and vivid as the original is – in the true sense of the word – brilliant.
How do you make your decisions regarding colour?
My intuitive sense for my colour choices and compositions have been informed by my many years of practice. I’ve learnt by engaging with the material and by working diligently. If you want to have a look at my process, join me in my studio through my videos.
What are the advantages of using oil paint for your painting?
Where to start singing the praises for oil colour? The depth and body of the colours are unrivalled, no other binder possesses similar luminous and brilliant qualities. The long working time gives the opportunity to revisit, to elaborate, to develop a painting very intuitively.
There’s a myth that oil paint is difficult to work with, which holds people back from trying it out. Do you have any tips for those who might be using it for the first time?
Oil paint requires a bit of technical knowledge. But it is only through practice you will intuitively understand the process. So as with everything I just recommend – start painting! There is really nothing like the feeling of working with oil colour. You will soon be just as addicted as I am.
Do you use any other mediums beside Liquin for when using with oil paint?
I use Safflower Oil a lot. The thin viscosity, transparent and non-yellowing qualities make it a perfect oil to use in paintings. Even the lightest and brightest colours will not only keep their depth and brilliance but be enhanced from using this medium.
What’s the best thing about being an artist today?
I wouldn’t trade being an artist for anything in the world. It’s a massively diverse and tantalizing work field. An artist isn’t just stuck in their studio anymore, I feel connected and engaged with the world which is truly satisfying.
Do you have one piece of advice for artists just starting out?
Instead of trying to become the best or the greatest at just one thing, try to become good at several… become a jack of all trades.