Born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1957, Mehmet Can İleri left for Paris, France upon graduating from high school. He persued his studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts (ENSBA) where he completed a B.F.A in 1982 under the mentorship of painter and etching artist Jacques Lagrange, known to many as the "architect of lights". He got his M.F.A at the Université Paris VIII Vincennes-St.Denis as a student of the renown art historian Frank Popper.

His initial years in Paris were spent in the midst of Turco-French artists including Hakkı Anlı, Avni Arbaş, Mübin Orhon and Selim Turan. In that same period, he worked as an assistant to the internationally acclaimed sculptor Alberto Guzman while also perfecting his printing skills. His paintings depicting interior scenes and etchings of Parisian cafes, primarily carried the influence of the Hispano-Flemish School and reflected the poignant loneliness of individuals in society.

In 1989, İleri spent a few months on a project in Rajistan, India where he perfected his fresco technique on canvas and started work on big format landscapes and skyscapes.

Based in Boston, Massachusetts between 1995-2004, İleri's work is infused with a new light and sensitivity, carrying the influence of both New England and the Aegean. His big, intricate canvases and anthropomorphic seascapes reflect the intimate relationship between the sky and the sea.

In 2005, İleri starts a new series of smaller paintings from his studio overlooking Seraglio Point and the historic peninsula of Istanbul. Entitled "Istanbul Dreams", the series pays homage to the changing skyline of the city and its unique relationship with the Bosphorus and its ever changing and textured light. Presently, Ileri shares his time between his studios in Istanbul and Urla, Izmir.

Having opened his first solo exhibit at the Galata Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul in 1982, Ileri has had solo shows in Paris and Tarbes, France, Schiedam, the Netherlands, Madrid, Spain, Berlin, Germany and New York, the United States. He has also participated in group shows and art fairs such as Sotheby's, ParisIstanbul and Contemporary Istanbul. In 1982 he produced printmaking at Süleyman Saim Tekcan's studio in Söğütlüçeşme. 

His work is held in private collections around the world including Ottawa, Toronto, Boston, New York, Havana, Athens, Paris, Montpelier, Lyon, London, Madrid, Brussels, Stuttgart and Milan. He is also featured in the permanent collections of Akbank, Şişli Terraki Foundation and the Istanbul Museum of Graphic Arts (IMOGA).

Ileri has authored countless articles in art journals and reviews including Sanat Çevresi, Genç Sanat, Milliyet Sanat and the daily Cumhuriyet. He was the featured artist on the televised program at CNDP/ La Cinquième in 1997 and on NTV in 2000.