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Mural Istanbul Festival 2015 Celebrates First-Ever Street Artist Exchange Between Turkey And The U.S.

June 18, 2015 Destination Global No Comments Print Print Email Email

Upcoming Istanbul neighborhood Kadıköy – on the Asian side of the city’s famous Bosphorus Strait – will host street artists from around the world as part of the fourth annual Mural Istanbul Festival.


 Opening on June 12 and held through September 30, 2015, the Mural Festival in Istanbul’s Kadıköy Municipality will see 10 street artists from four countries – Turkey, Russia, Spain and the United States for the first time – display their works of photorealism, narrative, surrealism, fantasy, personal iconography and abstraction. 

This year is the start of an Istanbul/Los Angeles Street Artist Exchange, the first ever in the festival’s four-year history. Created by Los Angeles-resident and street art enthusiast Walter Meyer, the exchange is designed to provide a uniquely cross-cultural perspective in the artists’ work. Kadikoy Municipality and the Turkish Consulate General in Los Angeles are sponsoring the exchange, utilizing the transportation and accommodation of Turkish Airlines and Solutions in LA. 

Artists participating in the exchange include Americans Levi Ponce and Kristy Sandoval and Turkish artists Mete Cam (also known as Esk Reyn) and Can Berk El (also known as Wicx). Ponce and Sandoval will travel to Istanbul to collaborate on a single mural in the 2015 Mural Istanbul Festival. They will be painting their 52’ x 16’ mural in the Yeldegirmeni district of Kadikoy from July 5-11. Esk Reyn and Wicx will travel to Los Angeles to collaborate on a single mural on the well-known “Mural Mile” in Pacoima, a neighborhood in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley. They will be painting a 45’ x 15’ mural from August 8-12, 2015. 

Levi Ponce, the son of famous Los Angeles artist Hector Ponce, earned a degree in Animation from California State University before beginning his street art career in 2011. Attentive to detail illustration, Ponce enjoys creating works that reflect a neighborhood and inspire its residents. To date, the young artist has created more than thirty murals in the USA and Mexico, and has been the subject of numerous newspaper, magazine and television interviews, including CNN and BBC. 

Kristy Sandoval, who will be the first woman to participate in the Mural Istanbul Festival, earned a fine arts degree at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, where she became intrigued with the city’s famous Mission District Murals. Adamant that public art belongs to the public, Sandoval attempts to convey a reflection of a community in her murals. Consequently, much of her work depicts symbols and images unique to the neighborhoods in which they are located. 

Turkish street artist Esk Reyn, in contrast to the Americans’ realism, focuses his art on the impact of mechanization. The Mimar Sinan University student is intrigued by the tension between the mechanical and the organic, and the concept of metamorphosis in nature. In 2013, Esk Reyn was invited to paint a mural in Cologne’s City Leaks Street Art Festival, and he is currently an organizer of the Mural Istanbul Festival. 

Wicx works primarily figuratively, exploring such concepts as family, life and dreams. While his style and techniques are self-described as ever-evolving, he values the traditional painting rules of draftsmanship, tonality and color. Currently a student in the painting department at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Wicx is also a character designer for a crew of graffiti writers. 

After painting their mural in Los Angeles, both Turkish artists will return to Istanbul to participate in the Mural Istanbul Festival, painting there from September 22-30, 2015.

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