Canan Tolon was born in Istanbul and spent her childhood in France. After finishing her high school degree from the École Française in Istanbul, she studied design and Architecture at Napier University, Edinburg, and at the Fachhoschule Tier, Germany. She received her Bachelor of Art degree at Middlesex University in London, England in 1980, and a Master in Architecture degree from University of California at Berkeley in 1983. She has shown nationally and internationally, and her work is in numerous collections.
Tolon is known to work with inventive processes, accidental and premeditated, mostly inspired by architectural spaces in conflict with natural elements. Her painting technique simulates that of photography to manipulate reality and imagination while her sculptures use refraction to manipulate spatial illusions and senses of gravity. Her work reveals a vision of a problematic world often overlooked.