Secret of hipster Istanbul pandas solved
İbrahim a.k.a. Leo Lunatic's pandas are in display in plenty of walls around Istanbul's touristic Beyoğlu district.If proud-looking hip pandas have recently invaded Istanbul walls, some holding spray paint, others wearing a fez and playing with their rosary, he is the person to be held responsible for it. Graffiti artist Leo Lunatic is now converting the city’s most touristic spots in the Beyoğlu district into a metropolitan park for those cute big-headed rascals.
“I liken pandas to myself because they are shy animals who remain distant to people. By painting them on the walls, I help them to mingle in society,” he tells Hürriyet in a recent interview.
Leo Lunatic’s real name is İbrahim. The 27-year-old artist says he started painting graffiti after taking interest in the hip hop beats his brother used to listen to. He now has adopted the mission of dressing the sad and bawdy walls of Istanbul.
“I was a lonely kid and my best friends were pens and paper. My first project was to paint the school. Then I started painting walls. But now I only participate in legal projects,” he says.
The number of his fans is growing every day and among them, well, there is even a police chief. “At first, they were trying to marginalize us, calling us ‘Satanists.’ But there has been a lot of improvement in the last five years. Now even municipalities want us to paint graffiti. Once the police took us, but the chief ended up saying he admired our work,” İbrahim says, adding it takes him two days to finish one work of graffiti.
Here are some of his works: