Image Details: ‘Knitta-Please-Bike’ by dandeluca, via Flickr.
Banksy does grafitti. He’s done a reasonably good job of making a career out of it too, over the past 20 years or thereabouts. Banksy’s stencils feature striking and humorous images, occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Subjects often include rats, apes, policemen, soldiers, children, and the elderly. Labelled as ‘vandalism’by Keep Britain Tidy, grafitti artistry seems to split people right down the middle. Personally, I quite like Banksy’s stuff and I struggle to see how a dead cow and calf chopped in half and pickled in formaldehyde can be considered art (it’s just minging unless you’re a vet or something) yet the Tate seems to think it is, so who am I to argue?!
Anyway, I don’t do grafitti. I’ve spray painted a few pots for the garden and tarted up the odd mirror frame or bit of furniture, but I’d never be good enough to do an actual picture with it. Knitting, on the other hand, could be a goer, which brings me nicely round to the subject of International Yarn Bombing Day, which, coincidentally, is today!
Yarn bombing (aka yarnstorming and grafitti knitting – see the tenuous Banksy link now?) is the practice of dressing up various bits of the urban landscape with lovely coloured knitting. Whilst it is technically illegal, artists are rarely prosecuted (I can’t imagine why. Just think of the comedy headlines.) and unlike traditional spray paint grafitti, the wooly works can be removed easily, and often are. You only have to see the work of the fabulous Knit the City to see why the yarn installations can tend to go missing rather quickly!
I haven’t done any grafitti knitting for this year’s IYBD, however I shall share my first grafitti knitting encounter with you. It was whilst on holiday in Cambridge, Ontario, visiting relatives. The Grand River runs thorough the centre of town and in spanned by several bridges with low-average concrete aesthetics. A group of local knitters had covered one of the prettier ones (in my opinion, if you can call concrete pretty, anyway) in knitting. And I mean covered. You can see on the picture below, I was only half way across the bridge. That’s a whole lotta knitting. This event took place in September 2010 and had been running (knitting?) since 2009. You can find out more information about it and see some more photos here.
So, if you fancy a go at a bit of grafitti knitting, head over to Streetcolor’s blog and check out the ‘Tips For Aspiring Yarnbombers’ post, which will give you the rundown on how to get started.