Post-socialist cities like Sofia in Bulgaria, aren’t known for their architectural diversity. They tend to be a bit monotonous. And rusty. Very rusty.
But when you add googly eyes (aka eyebombing) to cities rumbling ruins gain a certain charm.
Photographer Vanyu Krastev, 42, has been eyebombing Sofia over the past two years, breathing life in the most unexpected places.
His project got a flurry of attention in Bulgaria after an article in Bored Panda and now there are much more eyeballs on it (geddit?).
Krastev is hoping that it will develop into a grassroots movement, where people geolocate themselves moving around the city and follow the lead of other eyebombers.
Like many capital cities in Europe, parking is a nightmare In Sofia. There are cars everywhere. Especially sidewalks. So the city is littered with a variety of stony sculptures that function as barriers. What better place to put some googly eyes?
And that’s the point. Finding beauty in anything, both animate and inanimate, is a matter of perspective.
Krastev says he can’t unsee that beauty anymore. The plastic googly eyes, just like the ones on most Sesame Street characters, are a filter through which he can mould the city and make it come to life.
“I bought a few of these plastic eyes and decided to try it in Sofia. I noticed no one had done it before (in Bulgaria) and I went from there,” Krastev said.
“The more eyes I stuck on things, the better I became. I got a sort of flair for it. Nowadays, I don’t even need to go on a specific ‘eybombing hunt’ around Sofia. The little creatures just kind of pop out all around me.”
Krastev was inspired by the two Danish masters of the street art initiative, who describe it as an “effort to define and refine a largely neglected and overlooked” part of everyday life – the urban aesthetic.
And their methodology is simple – create weirdly gleeful creatures from inanimate objects, which in turn bring equally wide smiles to people passing by.
Sofia is a particularly good canvas for this sort of installation because the best eyebombing works with things that are “broken, ruptured, punctured, tangled, crumbling, or twisted,” Krastev says. “You are, in a way, humanizing them.”
These’s an abundance in the city and once you look at them through the googly eyes filter, it’s kind of an inspiration.
Proof that beauty and life is everywhere.