December 15 2011

Yarn on the 6th Street Mural? Knitta, Please!

As you may have recently noticed, we're not the only ones in love with Magda Sayeg and Knitta, Please. Needless to say, we were thrilled to have Magda and her team back at The Standard. Two years ago she installed her knitted graffiti installation in the front plaza at The Standard, New York and now she has taken over the 6th Street Mural at The Standard, Downtown LA with a colorful, tiled design with a little 3-D illusion thrown in! The unique approach left us wondering, is there anything that can't be wrapped? She answers this question and more below.

Check out Magda's installation on our 6th Street Mural at The Standard, Downtown LA

The Standard: What was the first thing you yarn bombed? What's been your biggest challenge so far? Is there anything that's impossible to cover?

Magda Sayeg: The first thing I ever wrapped was the door handle of my Houston boutique, Raye. It was cold, so I figured the shop needed a pick-me-up, and I liked the idea of anthropomorphizing the functional fixtures in our environment. My biggest challenges have been technical. In Bali, I wrapped the weapons of a 150 foot military statue. I didn't have any equipment -- no scissor lift or ladder -- so I just stacked a bunch of crates on top of each other. Looking back, it probably wasn't so safe, but it turned out to be one of my favorite projects. I don't really think there's anything that's impossible to cover. The approach just has to be right. I have a vision of a giant windmill on a cliff on the Pacific coast, with the blades covered in knitting. I'd like to get to that one day.

Magda Strikes Again in Bali

Do you design your installation sites specifically?

I always design my projects specifically to a site I'm working with. The environments aesthetic and history are integral to each piece, not to mention the specific measurements of the location. Site visits are important to get a sense of space and feel out the vibe of a place.

How does the object of the installation influence the materials used?

More than the object, the environment of an installation determines the materials. If the installation is outdoors -- and most of mine are -- I have to use a yarn that is resistant to shrinking and fading.

What inspired you about the 6th Street Mural? How is this project unique from installations you've done in the past?

One of my long-standing inspirations has always been traditional needlecraft... the kinds our grandmothers practiced and our moms did as after-school crafts. I was drawn to this opportunity because it enabled me to approach my work from a new vantage point. The 6th Street mural is the first two-dimensional canvas I've been presented with, so it was a challenge from the beginning. The scale and visibility of the billboard is a great plus as well, and I am so honored to be part of this history at The Standard.

How far reaching is the work of Knitta, Please? When you are in faraway lands working on installations, are there items you won't leave home without?

Knitta takes me all over the world, I've definitely been lucky with that. Buenos Aires has actually been incredibly hospitable to my work, and I've found myself in South America a few times recently. I just returned from a project in Sydney for the Art & About Festival. The only drawback is my fear of airline food. I never leave Austin without some good homemade snacks. Also, I take a full-size pillow.

Knitta, Please at The Standard, New York in 2009

What are you looking forward to in 2012? What's next for Knitta?

Knitta has taken on a life of its own. I started out putting yarn on stop sign poles, and I'm so proud of the international movement that's sprung out of that, but I've been enjoying exploration in new directions. This fall, I was the creative director for a stop-motion animation commercial for Sudafed, and working with film was an exciting departure for me. Yarn is my medium, and I want to continue to expand the boundaries of the craft.

In the yarn bombing tradition of Magda Sayeg, we'd like to tip off our readers to Knitta's new collection of sunglasses created for the Sunglass Hut. You can purchase the colorful creations here.