The concepts of amateur and professional are not widely used in Turkey. There are professional artists that work, produce and open exhibitions, but who cannot earn money from their artistic activities. There are people that paint as a hobby aside from their work, but who do sell works. There are many self-taught artists that first had to study some other profession due to social pressure or because of the way the higher education system works in Turkey. Even if artists do not earn money from art works, they do not describe themselves as amateur. Amateur artists generally engage in a branch of visual artists as a hobby. Therefore professionalism is best understood as related to the productivity of an artist, the recognition he or she receives, and the activity of artists on the national and international levels.
A special case in Turkey is the student clubs in universities that gravitate towards art, because these tend to attract students from very diverse departments, who share the wish to make art. Some of them intend to become professionals, so the level can be quite high. Most of these clubs are active in theatre, dance, cinema and the history of art. The number of Student clubs active in painting, sculpture, installation, video and performance is rather small. Bahçeşehir University, Çanakkale’s 18 Mart University and Istanbul University are some of universities that have active visual arts clubs.