Virtuoso Life reader Walter Meyer recently returned from Istanbul for the Mural Istanbul Festival 2018, sponsored by the municipality of Kadiköy, located on the Asian side of Istanbul. Meyer, an independent art curator and former Istanbul resident, now resides in Los Angeles.

“The festival holds special interest for me, having organized the first Istanbul/Los Angeles Street Artist Exchange,” he says. “Two popular L.A. muralists – Kristy Sandoval and Levi Ponce – collaborated on a mural for the 2015 Istanbul festival, the first time that Americans participated. Then, two Turkish muralists painted murals in L.A.”

Over the summer, street artists from Brazil, Croatia, Serbia, and Turkey created murals. But the good news for art lovers, and visitors to Istanbul? The murals will stay up for years. The themes from this year’s festival include fantasy, friendship, hip-hop, and a beloved dog remembered.

The festival expands this year to more Istanbul districts, first to Sariyer, a Bosphorus community on Istanbul’s European side.

Here is a taste of the murals on display in Istanbul, and some of Meyer’s personal thoughts.

  1. Arlin (Brazil), untitled

“Who’s the king of the jungle now?”

2. Artez (Serbia), “Beautiful Journey”

“Look in the lower lefthand corner for the framed picture of Luna, who sadly passed away one week before Arlin came to Istanbul.”

3. Lonac (Croatia), “Intermission”

“The artist’s friend Tina modeled for him.”

4. Max (Turkey), untitled

“Max, an assistant working on the festival, created this, his first large-scale mural.”

5. Omeria (Turkey), untitled

“This renowned graffiti artist celebrates graffiti’s hip-hop roots.”