5 urban textile artists
A growing trend for urban textile art is now being recognised as a worldwide international craft movement. Temporary in its nature this art form makes a statement that goes beyond being just decorative, reclaiming and personalising sterile public spaces. Bringing together the female-dominated craft and textile disciplines with the male-dominated world of graffiti, urban textile art never fails to raise a smile.
In this article we take a look at five prominent urban textile artists who combine street art with textiles.
Artist Jennifer Marsh is the founder of The World Reclamation Art Project, a non-profit organisation promoting global collaborative public art initiatives. One of the most impressive, The Gas Station Project, took place in 2008 in Syracuse, New York and involved 450 artists and 2500 students representing a total of 15 countries. Aiming to highlight the world’s dependency on oil, it involved covering an abandoned gas station with over 5,000 square feet of crocheted, knitted, stitched, patched, photographed, silk screened and collaged panels. This spectacular large scale community project featured unusual recycled materials such as crocheted plastic bags and cassette tapes as well as sewed grocery labels.
For more information on Jennifer and The World Reclamation Art Project please visit:
One of the original ‘yarn bombers’, Austin-based textile artist Magda Sayeg creates street art using yarn. Merging the current renaissance of craft and the DIY movement with the appropriation of public spaces, Magda’s work includes a knitted/crocheted covered bus in Mexico City and a solo exhibition in Rome at La Museo des Esposizione. Magda also works as a director at the integrated media company 1stAveMachine assisting in new types of experimentation and collaboration. Commissions include work for respected companies such as Absolut Vodka, Madewell, Insight 51, Mini Cooper, and Smart Car.
For more information on Magda please visit: magdasayeg.com
Agata Oleksiak, AKA OLEK, is a crochet graffiti artist and another member of the ‘yarn bombing’ or ‘guerrilla knitting’ trend. Originally from Silesia in Poland, OLEK studied Cultural Sciences in Poznan. They now work and live in Brooklyn, New York where their colourful work will often surprise and delight its inhabitants. An active supporter of women’s rights, sexual equality, and freedom of expression OLEK has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, TIME Magazine, Vogue Italia, PBS, CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.
For more information on OLEK please visit: olek.nyc
Juliana Santacruz Herrera
Using braided strips of colourful fabric, artist Juliana Santacruz Herrera decided to ‘repair’ the potholes on the streets of Paris. Her playful solution to this constant state of disrepair creates a graphic contrast to the grey urban setting of the city. Describing the streets as her ‘canvas’ Juliana braids and coils dyed fabrics into the shallow cracks to decorate the holes in the pavement. This intervention is intended to make a statement on the municipal neglect of the city streets.
For more information on Juliana please visit: Juliana Santacruz Herrera on Flickr
The ‘Cornershop’ installation is the lastest project by artist Lucy Sparrow. It involved sewing 4,000 items over a seven month period to recreate the classic British cornershop in felt. Known for her use of textiles within the urban art scene, Lucy has exhibited with some of the world’s most prominent street artists including Banksy, in the V&A’s “Urban Take-Over” touring exhibition. Describing her work as ‘feltism’, she uses felt and wool to creating over-sized and life-sized soft versions of existing objects and major works of art.
Check the Yarn Graffiti Doc indiegogo Pitch Video for more info.
Other articles for urban inspired textile artists:
Pauline Nijenhuis: Man and machine
Jette Clover: Words and walls
Heather Dubreuil interview: Contemporary art quilts
Featured textile artist Cas Holmes: To do different
Exhibition Review: Sue Stone – Stuff and Nonsense
What do you think of this new form of textile art? Let us know by leaving a comment below.