The profound love for a city can become the inspiration for many things. In the case of Istanbul and No More Lies, it became a series of animal stencils for a kind of art in its truest form: creation without pretention or expectation.
It was love that gave birth to the panda crying blood on the old wall of a Karaköy building, and equally, it was also love that we ourselves felt when we discovered it upon walking around aimlessly, as if we had been rewarded for getting lost.
No More Lies are not street artists by profession, they have day jobs and spend their weekends walking around, like us, to find the most universal and unbiased canvas possible: the streets of our city. And because of that we are grateful for their capacity to interrupt the monotony of our lives to add something magical perhaps even surreal.
We met the Istanbul crew in a park near the Perşembe Pazarı in Karaköy, sat down on dainty chairs by the water with flute players walking past and chickens scrambling about. It seemed rather appropriate:
How did the animal stencil series begin?
We wander the city a lot, aimlessly, and one day we were walking around the Galata neighborhood and found ourselves in this empty area, and we just stopped there, and something strange happened. We felt that we either had to create something there or remain there ourselves for eternity, it was that kind of feeling. We began to think about what could be done there, and the idea of the Zebra came to us, that particular space literally gave birth to the Zebra itself. We decided that the zebra would be a stencil and from there the idea of creating animal stencils began, and because of that first work the stencil series emerged and continued.
Why street art?
Well first of all, no one taught us how to do this, no one told us this is how they do it abroad and what the correct form was, we learned from doing it ourselves through trial and error. To be able to create art on the street eliminates the layers that separate you from your viewer, and you present them with such a thing, that when they see it, their lives change…every time we put up work we have some kind of reaction, and a bond is established with our work and the person who sees it, and a very strange, very unique kind of joy arises from that…every time we create something new, we have the opportunity to connect with different people and capture unique moments with those who respond to our work. We don’t know what will happen in the future or what will become of this, but it’s not really about that.
Can you tell us a little about the process?
We explore the streets and when we find a space we like we begin to become excited about a new project, which is then of course followed by paper cutting sessions at my house, that last for days. First the drawing is made, photocopied, and then depending on how may colors we want to use, layers are created and cut out. For the penguin for example, we cut out about five or six layers, that are all painted in one by one.
What has been the reaction to your work?
We never feel that we’re doing something wrong, in fact every surface that we touch gains a kind of magic, if you will, and because of that there really is no reason to hide. When people come and ask what we’re doing we just tell them…the people really embrace the work because it adds something unexpected to their lives…whatever it is that you are feeling while creating that work is the feeling that people possess when they see it.
We really don’t know about any other local street art in the city, and I think we started doing this at the right time because of that. There is a lot of graffiti, and good artists in that field, but as far as we know, there is no one that does the kind of work we do.
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