Saturday, May 28, 2011

Urban knitting, yarn bombing is street art

My fascination with urban art continues...I have this mix of emotions, though.

I love it! Something that drives an artist to create beauty, where all can enjoy, in their own way, with their own medium.

I hate it! It's graffiti. It will become old and shabby. Someone will have to clean it up.

Inoffensive, pleasant, free, art, cool, beautiful, fun, cozy, grandma, handmade, benign, adorable.

Guerilla, a huge waste, yarn bombing, vandalism, littering, time-wasting.

"A global phenomenon."

"The street is the extension of the art gallery."

"A moment in pop culture."

"Retro handcrafted cheeriness."

Toyota hired Magda Sayeg to knit a Prius a Christmas sweater last year for a promotional video. [Must-see video]

"Captain hook" dresses this L.A. bear over and over.

But why?

Why dress a bear, a tree, a pole, a pothole?

Some want to add a feminine touch to the world, some love the unseen interaction with people; "it puts a smile on faces", softens our man-made world with woman-made stuff, makes a statement.

Why not!!!!

Watch for June 11 - International Yarn Bombing Day


References and photo credits:
Graffitti's cozy, feminine side, NY Times
Urban knitting article, by Deputy Dog
Julianna Santacruz Herrara's Flickr stream
Urban knitting Flickr group
Magda Sayeg
Wool love-functional fiber art blog
Twilight taggers , a how-to blog
Crochet Vandals Do Graffiti...Like Your Grandma NPR article and video

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I See

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, a grotto or a labyrinth or a dream world or something, of color, shine, reflection, texture, pattern. The sun was out, the temperature just right, a beautiful day.

Every square inch inside and out is covered with bits of tile, pottery, china, glass bottles, South American figurines, mirrors and bicycle wheels held together with colored grout.  

I've seen some of Isaiah Zagar's mosaic murals around the city, like this one I snapped in last September, on 4th and Gaskill. (Go to the Street View of this Google map and turn around 90 degrees. The full murals are on the Northwest corner, on the wall of a parking lot.)

The magic of the Gardens flowing out into the community. He's done over a 100 walls in Philadelphia.

 I'm a big mural fan, as many of you know, but these mosaics are my new fascination.

It's something that photography doesn't do justice to...the reflection of a thousand tiny mirrors...

 ...the constant need to stand back...

...and then walk up very close to see the detail...


...and stand back...

...and up close.

The gritty grout in vibrant colors.

The faces...

...and body parts...

...and animals...

...and words of wisdom, "Art is the Center of the World"...

...the solution...

... as well as fine china!

Private inner workings of the mind, made evident.

Seeing the world from a different perspective.

He said, " whole career, [I've been] trying to make a total encyclopedic vision that has no parameters and no end. My work is marked by events and is a mirror of the mind that is building and falling apart, having a logic but close to chaos, refusing to stay still for the camera, and giving one a sense of heaven and hell simultaneously."

 He's asking us...Do you understand? Do you see?  Can you see the world as I do for a moment?

Yes, Isaiah, I see. Thanks for sharing yourself with me today.


If you have visitors from out of town, definitely take them for a cheesesteak at Jim's and then to see the Magic Gardens (11th and South St.). Admission, $5. Inspiration, conversation, imagination, priceless.

Isaiah Zagar
YouTube shorts
Absolutely Isaiah,  article
Mosaic Art Source blog

Mosaic artists work on Flickr:
Institute of Mosaic Art
Megan Cain Mosaics
Junk Mail Mosaics
Ancient Mosaics