yarn-bombing

For the past several wintry months, fiber artist Naomi RAG has been beautifying East Harlem with her splendid yarn bombing. Yesterday, I spoke briefly to Naomi.

"Naomi RAG"

 When did you first begin to grace public streets with your talents?

The first time I yarnbombed was four years ago back in Cambridge, England.

 What inspired you to do so at the time?

Via social media, I had heard about International Yarnbombing Day, and I loved the idea of bringing color and beauty to our urban landscape.

Naomi-RAG-yarn-bomb-east-harlem-street-art-nyc

naomi-RAG-street-art-yarn-bomb-east-harlem-New-Years-Eve-Pointsettia-nyc

Where else have you yarnbombed?

Liverpool’s Crosby District — where I was staying for a bit — and here in East Harlem, where I’ve lived for the past year.

 What is your impression of your new neighborhood?

I just love it! I especially love its diversity. It is quite similar to the London Borough of Hackney.

Naomi-RAG-east-harlem-tree-yarn-bombing

"Naomi RAG"

How have folks here responded to your pieces here in East Harlem?

All the feedback has been positive. And it’s the positive reactions that motivate me to keep at it.

What’s ahead?

My goal is to create one new piece a month to share here in the public sphere.

That sounds great!  We are looking forward! 

Photos 1-3, Lois Stavsky; 4 & 5, Dani Reyes Mozeson

{ 3 comments }

Speaking with Spidertag

July 18, 2013

Based in Madrid, Spidertag is known for his masterful geometrical and abstract artworks fashioned with yarn and nails. I recently met up with him during his visit to New York City, where he left his mark at 5Pointz.

Spidertag

When did you start getting up?

I started doing graffiti in 2000, and in 2008 I began working as Spidertag.

Have you any preferred surfaces?

I like abandoned places. Just like a spider, I only build my geometrical webs in out-of the way, deserted spaces. When people are present, a spider’s web does not last.

Have you ever been arrested?

Not for this, but I was arrested in Berlin for bombing.

What was that like?

They pepper-sprayed me and punched me. They kept me over night.

Spidertag

Wow! And I thought the authorities in Berlin were lenient!

Not if you’re caught bombing.

What percentage of your time is devoted to your art?

All day, all night.

What is your main source of income?

Freelance photography and design. Selling artworks.

Any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

I try to connect them both. But, clearly, street art is more acceptable, and street artists have more freedom than graffiti writers. In some ways, street art legitimizes graffiti.

Spidertag

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

Both. I like working alone, but I also like the mix of techniques that comes with collaboration.

With whom have you collaborated?

Back in Spain, I collaborated with Señor X, Gaucholadri, EC13 and El Niño De Las Pinturas. And in Berlin, I collaborated with Hottea.

What do you see as the role of the Internet in all this?

It’s important  — because what we do is so ephemeral.

Have you a formal art education?

I studied sculpture, but most of what I do comes from what I taught myself and through reading. I’m an avid reader.

Spidertag

What’s the riskiest thing you ever did?

Doing art while standing in deep cold water. It was irresistible.

Your work is certainly unique. What is the source of your inspiration?

I love to experiment with different materials. I’m inspired by geometrics. And I’m always trying to do something different and better. Particular spots, also, inspire me.

Do you work with a sketch in hand or let it flow?

I usually don’t work with sketches.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

Sometimes. If I like it, it feels like magic. I jump for joy. And if I don’t like it, I forget about it.

Spidertag

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

Egyptian.

How has your work evolved through the years?

I’m more engaged with the materials that I use. These days nails have a hold on me. And I’m more particular with the spots that I choose.

What’s ahead?

A movie is coming soon. More experimentation, more geometry. I don’t want to repeat myself. I would like to Spidertag an entire abandoned town, my dreamed kingdom.

Gee – that’s quite ambitious. It sounds great! What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

I wish the artist did have a significant role in society. I’m not sure he does. But the way I see it — his main goal is to teach others to follow their hearts.

Interview by Lois Stavsky. First two images photographed by Lois Stavsky at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens. All other photos are courtesy of the artist.

{ 8 comments }