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 January-February 2012

January-February 2012

 

The Six Questions

Yarn-bomber

Deborah Sherman

Who: Streetcolor, somewhere between 30 and 60 years old, of Berkeley. 

What: Streetcolor is the renowned anonymous yarn-bomber of the Bay Area. Her beautiful public art can be seen on bike racks, signposts, trees across Oakland, Berkeley and even Sacramento. In her normal life, she’s a private art teacher and studio artist. Despite her growing popularity, she makes a concerted effort to remain anonymous. She says anonymity strips art down to simply surprise and pleasure and fun, instead of self-importance and image. And she says using a different name is part of the street art tradition.  

When: Law enforcement in Oakland and Berkeley don’t mind her work, even though it could be technically construed as vandalism. You might see Streetcolor installing work at Lake Merritt or in front of the library during the middle of the day. 

Where: Although she used to focus on Berkeley, in 2011 she began branching out to Oakland. The Oakland Museum commissioned her to cover the inside and outside of the museum for an exhibit that lasted from October through December. She also posts pictures of her work and discusses it on her blog: streetcolor.wordpress.com. 

Why: “Knitting has so many associations to clothing and comfort and all those things,” she says. “To see it suddenly out in an urban environment. It made the street look so personal. And it was such a fast way to get art up on the street, and people were letting me do it.” 

How: She hand-spins all her yarn. When she finds a new spot to “bomb,” she takes measurements, determines appropriate colors to use, then pieces it together at home. When the actual knitting is done, Streetcolor installs the work. For larger pieces — like the one at the museum — she has helpers, who are often her students.                   

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