Tag Archives: street art

Droppin’ Y-Bombs: Suzanne Tidwell at Occidental Park

4 Oct

While Mr. Forager & I are on the road, making our way to California, we’re rerunning Artsy Forager’s most popular posts.  This post originally published on July 18, 2011.  Enjoy!

This being my first summer in the Pacific Northwest, I knew the climate would be much cooler than summers in Florida.  But no one told me that even the trees would be wearing scarves!

Yarn Bombing by Suzanne Tidwell, Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

G and I were in Seattle on Saturday and our first stop was Occidental Park.. I was dying to see large scale yarn bombing in person.  Suzanne Tidwell’s bright warm colors juxtaposed against the dark trees under a cloudy sky would melt the heart of the Grinch himself.

Yarn Bombing by Suzanne Tidwell, Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

Yarn Bombed Lamp Post, Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

I mean, let’s face it, here in the PNW, we have a lot of gray days.  So why not help nature along a little by adding some color and whimsy?  I think the trees approve.  They just look so much happier, don’t they?  ( Wait, did I just inadvertently quote Bob Ross?! )  And of course, those bony lamp posts HAD to have been cold, being steel and all.  Now they’re super cozy.

Yarn bombing is a type of street art, which instead of using chalk or paint, utilizes colorful installations of knitted or crocheted yarn.  Begun as an attempt to enliven and beautify cold, urban environments, it has grown into a full-on art movement.  These aren’t just grandmas and bored housewives looking for a creative outlet and a bit of mischief.  Many yarn bombers are fiber artists who connected with the whimsical style and slightly rebellious nature of yarn bombing.

In many cases, the yarn bombing is done illegally, just like traditional graffiti and often under the cover of night.  However, bombers are rarely prosecuted, if caught.  Perhaps due to the playful, non-threatening nature of the “tagging”.  It would be like arresting Tinkerbell.

Fiber artists have tagged iconic public sculpture such as the Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia, a traditional red London telephone booth and Wall Street’s famous Charging Bull sculpture ( But don’t call that one yarn-bombing to the responsible artist, Olek.  She takes offense and considers her own work art, while the work of others to be trite.  Not sure I see the difference, but that is her prerogative, I suppose. )  What began as a clandestine art movement is now moving into mainstream favor, with artists, like Seattle’s Suzanne Tidwell, being commissioned to produce large scale public installations and corporate projects.

Totems and Yarn Bombs, Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

There is so much darkness and despair in our world today.  I say thank you, yarn bombers, for seeking to bring a little sunshine and fanciful wonderment to our world.  Long may you knit.

If you’d like to learn more about Suzanne Tidwell, whose work is featured in Occidental Park in Seattle as part of the summer ArtSPARKS program, check out her website and Facebook page.  To learn more about yarn bombing, check out this website, run by two knitters living in Vancouver, BC who also wrote a book about the phenomenon, Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti.  

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Friday Finds: Stairmasters

24 Aug

There is nothing I love more than being out & about and coming across a fabulous piece of street art or public sculpture.  Something I’ve noticed lately is a wonderful propensity for decorating public staircases.  Here are a few of my favorite examples from around the world!

Beirut, Lebanon steps by Strictly Dih-zayhners

Piano Steps, Valparaiso, Chile

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Painted steps, Valparaiso, Chile

Yarn bombed steps oustide Helsinki Cathedral, Finland ( photo by Peter Norris )

Strictly Dih-zayhners on Street Art Utopia | Valparaiso Steps via We Heart It  | Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago | Painted steps on Street Art Utopia | Yarn Bombed Steps via The Daily Telegraph 

Who knew Valparaiso, Chile was so full of street art goodness?  Definitely on my list of places to visit now!  Have a favorite pair of artsy stairs?  Share ’em over on the Artsy Forager Facebook page!

All image sources are linked above.

Expressive Conversations: Galen Cheney

27 Jun

It’s no secret that street art has exploded in popularity recently, gaining momentum and long deserved recognition.  We’re living in a world in which people are constantly looking for sources of inspiration and stimulation, which street art often provides in the most surprising places.  Vermont artist Galen Cheney’s work melds together the painterliness of Abstract Expressionism with elements of street tags to create work that invites us into a conversation about how strivers and outsiders express their creative voice.

Catalyst, graphite, acrylic and oil on rag paper, 38×50

Illuminated Earth #2, oil and acrylic on paper, 22×30

Just as the AE’s are often remembered for their intensity and rebelliousness ( think of AE poster boy Jackson Pollock ), so are street artists of yesterday and today.  Though street art is being increasingly recognized and accepted, it’s beginnings as graffiti were often considered ugly vandalism, more likely to be white-washed or painted over rather than celebrated.

Morning Table, oil on canvas, 24×24

Through Deepest Dark, oil on canvas, 42×43

Cheney’s inclusion of graffiti-like elements against an expressionist background speaks to the evolution of both movements.  Just as Abstract Expressionism was a polarizing movement ( and still is, to a degree ), so is contemporary street art.  And just as AE artists gained more and more notoriety, so too, are street artists.  What once was seen as rebellious and highly individualistic eventually became lauded as a major movement and an important part of the art historical canon.

Evocateur, acrylic, oil and enamel on canvas, 40×36

Is this where “street art” is headed?  What will be the new means of outsider expression?

To see more of Galen Cheney’s work, please visit his website.

Featured image is Catalyst, graphite, acrylic and oil on rag paper, 38×50.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Art to Inspiration: Jill Ricci

6 Jun

I’ve been having so much fun with the Art to Inspiration project!  The first month I participated, the inspiration work was by Pakayla Biehn, an artist whose work I’d already fallen in love with when I featured her on Artsy Forager a while back.  The next month gave me an opportunity to fall head over heads for Jo Howe’s organically inspired work.  So I was thrilled when my suggested artist, Jill Ricci was chosen as the inspiration for June!

Jill is one of those artists whose work I never tire of and I hope you don’t either, because I have a tendency to want to feature her work every chance I get!  One of my favorite elements running through Jill’s work is the urban, graffiti-like graphics.  So for this Art to Inspiration, I’ve put together a Ricci-inspired gallery of street art!

The inspiration-

Float by Jill Ricci, mixed media on canvas, 40×40

The gallery-

NeSpoon ( via Recyclart )

By Sainer from Etam Crew, on Urban Forms Foundation in Lodz, Poland ( via Street Art Utopia )

Artist unknown, ( via Street Art Utopia )

By Speto, Sao Paulo, Brazil ( via Wooster Collective )

Obey by Shepard Fairey ( via My Modern Metropolis )

Be sure to click the photos above for more of each artist’s work and to see more inspiring street art.  You can also check out Artsy Forager’s Artsy On the Streets Pinterest board to keep up with all the street art I’m finding!

You can find more information on Art to Inspiration here and if you would like to participate in the next Art to Inspiration, just fill out this form! Follow me and all the other Art to Inspiration bloggers on Twitter by subscribing here.  Let the inspiring begin! 

Friday Faves: Street Cred

27 Jan

Henry David Thoreau said, “This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”  Street artists take that idea quite literally, by taking art out of the isolating artistic environments of galleries and museums, bringing the art to a public that might not otherwise be exposed to it.  Check out these examples of art full of street cred!

Alice Pasquini

NeSpoon

Ben Wilson

Juliana Santacruz Herrera

Snyder

Keep your eyes peeled for street art while you’re out and about this weekend!  Would love to see some examples from your community!

Featured image by Alice Pasquini.  Click on each image to view the source.

This Artsy Life: Art Along The Rogue

3 Oct

I love and appreciate any community that embraces its artsiness.  Even more, I adore a place that reaches out to bring art into the lives of children who may not otherwise experience it.  This weekend, our little temporary hometown of Grants Pass, OR had it’s annual Art Along The Rogue festival, featuring an entire street filled with chalk-artists and lots of opportunities for the kiddies to get their hands all colorful and chalky!

Art Along The Rogue 2011, Grants Pass, OR

Forty local and regional artists came together to create temporary 8’x8′ chalk-on-pavement masterpieces and visitors could pay $5 for chalk and a 2’x2′ square of their very own.  There were also free art activities for kids at the Grants Pass Museum of Art.  It brought a huge smile to my face to walk by and see kids painting and drawing!

Art Along The Rogue 2011, Grants Pass, OR

Art Along The Rogue 2011, Grants Pass, OR

Internationally known street artist Tracy Lee Stum’s 16’x50′ scenic was the featured work of the festival.

Art Along The Rogue 2011, Grants Pass, OR

Folks were lined up for a peek at this painting, that came to life in 3-D when viewed through a special glass window.  Lots of artsy goodness in Grants Pass this weekend, along with a music festival and Beer Walk.  But someone’s wife forgot about the Beer Walk until it was too late to buy tickets.  Not mentioning any names.

How about you, Artsies?  Anyone attend any shows or festivals this weekend?

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