Eric Rieger, known by the moniker HOTTEA (previously), is a graffiti writer turned installation artist whose medium of choice is yarn. With it, he creates colorful large-scale works inspired by the moments, experiences, and people in his life. Whether flowing down from the ceiling of a gallery, or interlaced across the top of a pedestrian pathway, Rieger’s installations always hold a connection to his past and those who helped shape it.
“Color to me represents memories and experiences,” Rieger told Colossal, “so in a way it is always in play. It all depends on what really strikes me at the moment of the installation.” When asked about his process, the artist revealed that it’s largely inspiration and concept that dictates form. “I have always let life unravel itself naturally and that informs my artistic practice. I let the space and my thoughts guide me, and from there I create a design based on what I am going through at the time.”
Rieger credits his retirement from graffiti as the catalyst that got him to his current work. “Not being able to paint anymore inspired to me to create something totally opposite,” he said, adding that the two practices are very different. “As a graffiti writer I only painted at night, I kept it from my family and I only practiced my artist name. Doing work under HOTTEA, I create all of my work during the day to interact with people, I share it with my family and create installations inspired by them… everything that I was as a graffiti writer I didn’t want to be as HOTTEA.”
Rieger’s grandmother taught him to knit at a young age, which is part of the family influence expressed through his work and his identity as an artist. “The very name HOTTEA is derived from a memory I have of my mother ordering hot tea on the weekends at Baker Square growing up,” he explained. “The name reminded me of all the good times we had as a family there and when my parents were still together. HOTTEA brings me absolute pure joy – it’s something I will fight for till the very end.” (via My Modern Met)
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Ana Martins, who works as Aheneah, recently reflected on the relaxed freedom of youth and captured that feeling in a cross-stitched intervention on a wall in Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. The work is along a popular route to a local school, and is comprised of over 2,300 screws and nearly 760 yards of yarn.
The 22-year-old artist isn’t far from the experience of transitioning from student to adult. Martins shares with Colossal, “Every day, for many years, thousands of kids pass by this wall while going from home to school and from school to home. Most of the time just floating in their thoughts, lost in space, time and routine. Until their paths have to change directions. This happened to me a few years ago.”
She graduated in 2017 with a degree in graphic design, and in her professional work explores the connections between digital and analogue mediums, seeking to “deconstruct, decontextualize and transform a traditional technique into a modern graphic, connecting cultures and generations.” You can see more from Martins on Instagram and Facebook.
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Spanish textile artist Judit Just Anteló moved to Asheville, North Carolina in 2013 to further develop her textile brand Jujujust. Although she studied fashion design, sculpture, and textile art in her hometown of Barcelona, she first learned the standards of weaving from her mother as a small child. Anteló applies these more traditional techniques to her current practice, updating the old methods with splashes of neon color and engaging combinations of vibrant threads.
“Most of my tapestries are just an involuntary result of an improvisation, a dance with colors and materials,” Anteló tells Colossal. “I like to let myself flow and see what it transforms into afterwards. Once I finish and approve one design, I keep the original in my studio to reproduce it in different color variations. Then I redo them and make them evolve and metamorphose into other creations.”
Anteló weaves her tapestries with rye knots created on a lap loom or eight-harness table loom, depending on which type of wall hanging she is attempting to make. You can find a variety of her works for sale on her Etsy shop, and take a peek into her studio on Instagram.
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The newest installation by Chiharu Shiota (previously here and here) is composed of nearly 300,000 yards of white yarn, woven to encapsulate the center, ground floor, and ten windows of Le Bon Marché. The exhibition, titled Where are we going?, will feature 150 boats within the French department store’s center, and the ground-floor exhibition will house a giant threaded wave that visitors are encouraged to walk through. Despite boats being a common theme in Shiota’s work, this installation will mark the first time she has used white yarn, previously creating installations with only black or red thread.
The title of the exhibition, Where are we going?, refers to the mysterious destinations that pinpoint each of our individual and collective lives. Therefore the boats in this installation represent vessels sailing towards unknown locations, the works expressing both a sense of poetry and a sense of unease over what is to come.
“I am struck by the multiplicity of interactions that we experience every day, by their connections with the past and the future,” said Shiota in an interview with Le Bon Marché. “The creation of this indecipherable mesh and its plasticity are a mystery, just like our brain, the universe, and of course, life. I have no answers, only questions. These questions are the foundations of my work.”
Last year Le Bon Marché organized a large exhibition of Ai WeiWei's work which featured a 65-foot bamboo and silk dragon in the store’s atrium. Shiota’s Where are we going? will be displayed at Le Bon Marché through February 18, 2017. (via Fubiz)
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For her latest installation at Blain|Southern in Berlin, artist Chiharu Shiota has constructed a twisted network of tangled red yarn that rises from a collection of skeletal boats. Titled Uncertain Journey, the artwork envelopes the viewer by creating a blood-red canopy reminiscent of a neural network that meanders in every direction. The piece is a continuation of Shiota’s work with yarn, most notably her 2015 installation The Key in the Hand for the 56th Venice Art Biennale. Uncertain Journey will be on view starting September 17 through November 12, 2016. (via Designboom)
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Typically focusing on obsolete or decrepit architectural structures, photographer Chris Payne's most recent project, Textiles, documents the aesthetics of the colorfully-hued American textile industry. His photographs showcase the bright runs of yarn and thread as the materials makes their way through the hyper-organized machinery, appearing digitally altered in their extreme hot pinks, vibrant reds, and electric blues.
Payne began photographing the factories and mills in America’s Northeast in 2010. The images are not just snapshots of the industry, but photographs that sometimes took months to catch. Due to the machinery’s continuous run and his inability to halt production, Payne had to wait until the perfect moment when the right color would appear, or the parts of the machinery would perfectly align. Payne also features the workers within his documentation of the diminishing domestic industry, explaining that their inclusion is proof that labor and craftsmanship is still valued in our current economy.
“Over the past five years, I have gained access to an industry that continues to thrive, albeit on a much smaller scale, and for the most part, out of public view,” said Payne. “Many mills are doing quite well, having modernized to stay competitive, while others have survived by catering to niche markets that value the ‘genuine article’ produced on the original, vintage equipment. I view my work as a celebration of American manufacturing—not a eulogy.
Trained as an architect, Payne typically shoots architectural structures using large format documentation to capture America’s industrial landscape. Past projects have included exploring America’s asylums and an uninhabited island named North Brother Island in New York City’s East River. Payne’s Asylum series will appear at Benrubi Gallery February 11, 2016 and run through March 26, 2016. (via Huffington Post)
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Jay Mohler Updates the Traditional Craft of Homespun God’s Eyes to Create Elaborate Masterpieces up to 48 Inches Wide
Far more than just popsicle sticks and yarn, Jay Mohler‘s Ojos de Dios or “God’s Eye” mandalas update the craft often seen at sleepaway camps and elementary classrooms. Upwards of 15 colors of yarn are included in his elaborate mandalas, producing pieces that span up to 48 inches in diameter.
Mohler has been crafting Ojos de Dios since 1966, inspired by both Huichol natives of Mexico, and monks from Tibet. The Asheville, North Carolina-based artist began making 8-sided pieces when they grew in popularity as folk art in the 1970’s American Southwest, selling them at tourist gift shops around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Most recently Mohler has been producing 12-sided works that he recognizes as potentially spiritual objects, but explains, “I create these for artistic satisfaction rather than as any sort of spiritual talisman.”
Not only does Mohler sell his own elaborate pieces, but he also creates DIY kits for fans to make their own work. You can buy both his finished pieces and kits on his Etsy page and find detailed instructions for making your own mandalas here. (via The Jealous Curator)
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Editor's Picks: Street Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.