Monday, March 10, 2008

Street Art, Grafitti, Public Art: Knitters in Yellow Springs, Ohio

I saw a great article on the Associated Press today about a group of knitters in Yellow Springs, Ohio who have created what they call a "knitknot tree". Various knitters in this town have knitted and stitched together patches to cover a tree! You could call it a tree cozy!

Why is this news worthy and why in the world would anyone do this, you might ask? Well you see, this is a brilliant example of the type of thing artists like to do to make you smile. I mean imagine you are going downtown to post some letters and you pass the same scenery you do every time you wonder downtown, except on this particular occasion you see a tree tenderly decorated or you could  even say adorned in a cozy knitted sweater-type thing. I mean isn't  this better than seeing a new billboard go up or bus stop advertisement trying to sell you something you don't need?

I absolutely LOVE this type of art work which is known as Guerilla Art or Street Art. Guerilla Art is a movement that came out of Graffiti and these movements broke the boundries of art traditionally displayed in galleries or museums by taking art out into the street where it could be shared with anyone and everyone plus no money is ever exchanged to view or 'own' the work. 

There has been a long standing debate about these art forms covering concerns about property damage or 'defacement of public property' which I do think are legitimate concerns in some cases but not it all. Let's think about this for a minute and consider cave paintings, hieroglyphics, lovers carving their names in trees, signing guest books or yearbooks and religious pilgrims who carved their names onto pillars in cathedrals. These are all ways humans leave their mark and communicate to others that they are here or to be remembered they were here. It seems to be a natural instinct for us and not really a new concept at all, though the ideas in how it is done are always being re-invented.

In Barcelona graffiti is EVERYWHERE and a 90% of it is AMAZING and DOWNTOWN! I didn't see the city officials going around trying to paint over it either because they seem to understand that people enjoy it and come from all over the world to see it. I'd rather see really well done graffiti then advertisements ANYDAY. Wouldn't you? I also saw a lot of brilliant graffiti in San Francisco where the art form also seems to be celebrated than looked down on. When a few of my gurls and I stayed in SF so we could attend the opening of our Architectonics jewelry exhibition we stayed in a VERY affordable, clean and inspiring place called Hotel des Arts right near the gates of Chinatown. Every room of this hotel was decorated by a different graffiti artist. There were several of us staying there that week and we all ran around the hotel taking pictures of each other's room and examining every detail of every room. It really added a wonderful memory to the many that were made that week. 

If you haven't heard of the famous graffiti artist Banksy who is from Bristol, England (another place I visited with wonderful graffiti) you  should definitely visit his website.

Give me a shout!

photo by HSkowood


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the tree knitting but your article on it certainly makes me want to. I know you're rather partial to street art and it makes me more open to it myself.
Ruby Dzsf

JafaBrit's Art said...

Great post, and thanks for the shout out. The more I researched street art the more I was astounded at the brilliant work out there, murals, graffiti, light graffiti (I am interested in exploring that next), 3 d work. Some of the work, the quality is stunning, and yes banksy is one of my fave's.

What is exciting to me is seeing the possibilities of street art extending to all genres, knitting, sewing for example, and all ages.

skowood said...

Oooo I LOVE the light graffiti that is being done. We have to figure out out to get our hands on a laser! ;) A friend of mine in Manchester, UK were just discussing a project to project images of bodies on buildings to use the architectural elements to adorn them! She would have to apply for some ACE funding for us though. :)

It is REALLY WONDERFUL to see other mediums extending into street art. RECLAIM THE STREETS!

Inda said...

Very interesting blog! Is there a lot of light graffiti out there? When Mucks, Dyl and I went to Johan's pad in Brussels for new year's, they were projecting loads of really amazing images onto the town hall, it was ACE!

skowood said...

Thanx Inda,
I haven't seen any light graffiti here yet. I am assuming I'll find it in Boston or NYC soon though. I have seen the light images in Brussels for New Year they are amazing!
check out they have some AMAZING projects on there!