Larger-than-life strands of silly string swaying in the breeze. A literal interpretation of a Skittles ad where tasting the rainbow equals following a mass of colorful threads to a monumental and riotous explosion of color that’s inanimate but not immovable. An organized yet chaotic conglomeration of threads that goes way beyond the jumble of yarn at the bottom of your grandma’s crochet bag.
What do these seemingly incongruous things all have in common? They all describe the magic and wonder of artist Eric Rieger, aka HOTTEA, and his use of a nearly endless gathering of strings to create epic art installations that appear to “have a mind of their own,” according to My Modern Met.
A location-specific endeavor usually influenced by HOTTEA’s own personal experiences and connections with places, people, and time, the individual strands become larger than the sum of their parts when deliberately placed for maximum impact — a sensory overload that’s both visual and tactile, and a living embodiment of gloriously rainbow-hued complexities come to life.
Rieger is certainly no stranger to colorful yarn installations that mesmerize viewers with their vastness and statement-making colors. One only needs to check out his “Letting Go” or “Hot Lunch” installations, both prime examples of his willingness to expand perceptions using only yarn. Best known for both outdoor and indoor yarn pieces that are as grandiose as they are impactful, the Minneapolis-based artist has branched out from his Minnesota roots with his latest project entitled Strangers, located in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
A reflection of the people he met while creating the installation and his experiences in Brazil, the vast 100-foot-long, 30-foot wide piece is meant to incorporate both memory and a sense of belonging. As the artist himself has said, “The word ‘Stranger’ often times has a negative connotation, [and so] I titled this installation Strangers because I liked the idea of referring to a stranger as a positive thing.”
It seems the artist’s kaleidoscopic Brazilian installation is just the beginning for additional projects that see him creating further cascades of colors across the U.S., with locations including Los Angeles, New York City, and Far Rockaway, New York, in addition to a collaboration for a fashion show and new project in his Twin City home base.
Exploring human relationships, memory, and life experiences, the saturated hues and the ethereal beauty of HOTTEA’s yarn installations are not only visual cornucopias of color, but also tactile treats that seem to breathe with a life of their own. Often consisting of (literal) miles of brightly-hued yarn strands that are delightfully cartoonish in scope, the artist’s latest installation, entitled “Stranger,” further exemplifies his talent for manipulating textiles into full-blown multisensory experiences.
To see more, check out HOTTEA’s Instagram @hotxtea