Ergin Atlıhan was born in Edirne, Turkey, in 1935. During his early childhood, he spent his formative years in eastern Anatolian cities such as Van, Başkale, and Mardin, where the interplay of time, color, and form within the simple existence nourished his mysterious perception. During his high school and university years, he absorbed the refined yet somewhat turbulent and distinguished atmosphere of Istanbul. Subsequently, he pursued studies in Art History and Literature in Frankfurt and Wiesbaden in Europe, engaging in various occupations, including antiquarianism. Eventually, he found the "medium" that allowed him to express his impressions directly and in an unmediated manner, and in 1983, he held his first solo exhibition at the Frankfurt Rote Fabrik. The energy and maturity apparent in his lines surprised art critics during his exhibition at Gallerio Commercio in Zurich the following year.
Atlıhan held his first solo exhibition in Istanbul at Urat Art Gallery in 1986, followed by a grand display of sixty paintings at AKM in 1987, impressing audiences with his conveyed joy, agility, vitality, and the liberating power on the edge, which created an instant sense of existence in Turkish painting.
In 1987, he settled in New York and found a nourishing atmosphere and energy in the East Village. He exhibited a series of works accompanied by jazz at the Blue Note Jazz Club, followed by his Marilyn Monroe series at Gorky Gallery.
The artist, who reunited with art lovers at Yıldız Palace in Istanbul in the same year, made an impact on the art scene with a floating exhibition on the "Taşkent 11" yacht in early summer of 1991, as well as with an exhibition at the Islip Art Museum in New York in October.
In September 1992, the artist displayed "Contra - Hooligan Constellations" at the Ephesus Open Air Museum, marking the first exhibition where he began conveying meaning beyond paper and canvas, attracting an audience of 70,000. Ergin Atlıhan, who participated in the Serotonin events held at Istanbul Gazhane, also joined a group exhibition at Z Gallery in New York during the winter of 1992, and in the winter of 1993, with the contribution of many friends, he opened his studio in Istanbul.
In 1993, with the Toprakbank exhibition, the artist demonstrated his ten years of artistic experience vividly and exuberantly on 22 canvases, proving how justified the name "Wild Ergin" truly was.