Dilruba Tayfun was the winner of the very first edition of Talent League, back in 2021. What is she up to these days? Where did this journey take her? Gain insight into her creative path since Talent League and get inspired to submit your ideas. The winner of this edition could be you, and submissions are open until July 8.


Tell us a bit about your team and what your project was about.

After the initial pitch was announced as a finalist, I put together a team consisting of my best friends MC and Ari, so that’s UX designer & strategist Marie-Claire Springham, filmmaker Ari Snow and also visual artist Ruben de Haas. In a ten week sprint and with contributions from many creatives, a website, downloadable brush files and a pitch video came to life. A platform where anyone can make and share their custom digital brushes from real-life objects. A home for inky marks and our natural interactions converted into digital brushes for all to download and use, and get inspired to also gather.


How did mentorships play a crucial role in your project, and what valuable lessons did you learn along the way?

The mentorships gave us space to ask questions to experts in the fields of tech, leadership, storytelling, all of which would make help make a strong pitch video for the end of our sprint. I learnt about what it means to conjure up a vision/mision if I am to lead a project seriously, in a grounded, community-including and impacting way. I also found out how to storyboard my personal story, and to delegate tasks within our team and seek out our combined talented network to test our brushes, see what’s sticking. Also about the importance of research and just saying upfront what is challenging, unclear along the way.


In what ways did the Talent League contribute to the development of your project?

The Talent League gave me an accelerated/incubator experience of where a project can go in a dedicated 10 weeks time, with a team, mentors and crucially also, a supporting creative community, checking in on us along the way and contributing to our development. It highlighted this project has a place in the world and an audience that are keen to fuse the worlds of physical and digital, that aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. It showed me my vision was relevant to other artists, and appreciated.


Besides the project's development, how did the Talent League improve your career?

I became way more of a team-player than I ever was. I saw what kind of vulnerability and energy is needed to lead an idea to fruition, learning to step back where I know the strength of others are. You can’t do everything. If you’re leading a project, a team, you’re going to need to trust that you will share the tasks and communicate when something isn’t working, or isn’t in tune with someone’s work ethics or values. This approach has been helping me with my exhibitions in the last two years, where my collaboration levels peak and I work together with many of my friends.


The Talent League has infused courage and confidence into my career, and I have since quit my full-time job to commit to my studio practice, where Togather brews very quietly still and I’m painting, basically everyday.

Dilruba Tayfun


For those who aspire to apply this year, what advice would you give them on presenting their idea and making it stand out?

Tell us why something matters to you personally first, I want to know this idea is necessary or mysterious or exciting to you, why has this idea haunted you, stuck with you for so long? Where is its positioning in the physical and digital world? Begin with you, then take us to the potential or it’s impression for all of us, or a group of us.


What piece of advice would you give to someone who is applying for the first time?

You don’t have to create a new great idea or invention. I feel like everybody has something already that’s stuck like gum at the back or front of your mind/heart/spirit, be it a food recipe, a character that you haven’t written that story about yet, a real story that you can’t seem to shake off that has left an impression in everything you’re in contact with. A book, a myth even. Something you’re feeling a natural curiosity towards.


That curiosity, and a network of your people if you want to develop or work together with others, are your key ingredients to having something to submit for the Talent League.

Dilruba Tayfun


Thank you,  Dilruba Tayfun!