Yarn Bombing Picnic in Union Square, photo by John Black Photography
Yarn Bombing Picnic in Union Square, photo by John Black Photography

This is taking the yarn-bombing trend to the next level. Yesterday we showed you Knit the City, a group of girls yarn-bombing South London, but right here in New York City is one of the inspirations for this trend. Olek, a Polish-born costume designer turned set designer turned guerilla artist, is perhaps most recognizable for completely crochet-ing the Wall Street Bull and Astor Place Cube in 2011, but she’s taken the movement to the next level (with an accomplice it seems).

Moving from objects to people, Olek’s latest work covering people (friends and strangers) in yarn, like in the picnic captured by our friend, photographer John Black in Union Square, have been popping up on Instagram since April. Those in the know have been tagging oleknyc and olek in the photos. Instagrammer 4rilla, meanwhile, took the chance and “picked up some wild hitchhikers and brought them to Central Park.”

So why does Olek do this? Most telling of her motivation is a piece she wrote for The Huffington Post this April:

I crochet art installations, performances and actions to comment on the economic and social realities of the variety of communities I have been part of, to bring color, energy and surprises to the spaces we live in.

For me, life, crochet and art are inseparable. Anyone who enters my world will be sooner or later become transformed into my pieces. Lovers, friends, complete strangers…The suits take on their forms, but the form inside becomes completely invisible.

Don’t you ever wonder who is hidden inside these silent, crocheted skins? Who exactly are these people who allow me to encase them from head to toe? You have to find the end of the yarn to unravel the story.

You’ll notice that her work shows up all over New York City, from Washington Square Park, street art haven Welling Court in Astoria, Lower East Side, Prospect Park, Union Square and more. Olek writes on her website, “I intend to take advantage of living in NYC with various neighborhoods and, with my actions, create a feedback to the economic and social reality in our community.”

In 2011, she also yarn-bombed her entire apartment which was then re-created at the Christopher Henry Gallery. Check out Olek’s instagram @OlekNYC for more images.

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