Biography

 

Cetin Oguz was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He grew up in Bebek, a historical fishing village on the shores of the Bosporus strait.  His childhood activities took place on both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.

 

​Cetin's fascination with art began when he was four. He liked illustrating animal figures from encyclopedias and drawing from observation.  He was introduced to swimming when he was nine.  He swam for two different Turkish sports clubs and was a member of the Turkish National Swim team from 1992 to 2000.  Cetin made more than 100 swimming appearances in over 12 different European countries while representing Turkey.  At one point, he held two Turkish national swimming records.  While he enjoyed the time-consuming hobby of swimming, his passion for art persevered.

 

In 1993, Cetin was selected to study painting and drawing at a prominent Turkish university, Mimar Sinan University (MSU).  While attending the studio classes of nationally renowned professors Ozer Kabas and Ozdemir Altan, he was actively engaged in organizing student activities.  He was the MSU student government representative for the painting department from 1996 to 1998.  In his years at MSU, Cetin was inclined to study contemporary approaches in painting and drawing.  Because the contemporary art scene in Istanbul was not flourishing at the time, he embarked on a three-month journey across Europe.  He achieved his goal of seeing the original works of Picasso, Matisse, Klein, Kiefer, Richter, Beuys and many other masters.  

 

Cetin believes that his journey in Europe helped him to view art in a very broad spectrum.  After several successful shows and presentations in Istanbul, Cetin was determined to make his way to the United States.  In 1999, he came to the U.S. to study English at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Immediately upon completing his English studies, he received a swimming scholarship from Delta State University (DSU) in Cleveland, Mississippi, which he used to earn his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in 2001. While obtaining his BFA degree, he was the president of the International Student Council.

 

Prior to his graduation in 2001, Cetin met his future spouse, Carmen Elizabeth Cooper, at an international students’ dinner which Carmen organized.  Cetin proposed six months later and the couple tied the knot in 2001 on the same day of Cetin’s graduation from DSU.  The couple has two sons, Cooper and Cruz.

 

In the fall of 2001, Cetin enrolled into the Memphis College Arts (MCA) Graduate School. Cetin received his Master of Fine Art degree from MCA in 2003 and began teaching at DSU at the same year. He became a tenured Associate Professor in 2009 and was promoted to Professorship in 2017.

 

While teaching at DSU, Cetin organized two study abroad programs to Turkey in 2007 and 2013. Between 2016 -2017, Cetin taught summer painting and drawing classes in China and also completed two international fellowships at San Diego State University and in Japan.  Since 1998, Cetin has exhibited his artwork in his native country of Turkey, China and throughout the Southeastern United States.

 

In addition, Cetin stays very active in his immediate community in the Mississippi Delta. Cetin organizes community art projects and serves as the commissioner of the Heritage Commission, and International Rotary Club. He is an avid racquetball, basketball and an Ultimate Frisbee player, and has also developed a keen interest in sailing. His ultimate dream is to sail the Aegean Sea and one day cross the Atlantic from the United States to Bodrum, Turkey.

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