OLEK – Interview with the Rule Breaking Crotchet Artist

Olek crocheted Bull of Wall Street. Guerrilla crotchet at its finest. Image courtesy of olekappeal.com.
Olek’s crocheted Bull of Wall Street. Guerrilla crotchet at its finest. Image courtesy of olekappeal.com.

1. DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A SEPARATION BETWEEN YOUR ART OF CROCHET AND YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE?

A loop after a loop. Hour after hour my madness becomes crochet. Life and art are inseparable. The movies I watch while crocheting influence my work, and my work dictates the films I select. I crochet everything that enters my space. Sometimes it’s a text message, a medical report, found objects. There is the unraveling, the ephemeral part of my work that never lets me forget about the limited life of art object and art concept. What do I intend to reveal? You have to pull the end of the yarn and unravel the story behind the crochet.

2. WHERE DID THIS INITIAL DESIRE TO CROCHET COME FROM?

When I was a little girl, there was nothing in the department store. My mother’s brother, who lives in Rochester, New York; used to send us parcels but any goods found in the packages were confiscated by the Polish authorities. To avoid confiscation, he started to send us fabrics— lots of beautiful and colorful fabrics. During the socialism, it was impossible to purchase any nice clothes, or clothes for that matter, but it was very easy to find a seamstress. My parents made me crochet little socks in exchange for the fabric. As it turns out, I created the most amazing wardrobe but, because it was so different, I was marginalized and the clothes were not accepted by the locals. We actually would send back my designs back to my uncle. My work was here long before I crossed the border!

3. YOUR EXHIBIT␣AT THE CHRISTOPHER HENRY GALLERY IN NOLITA, MANHATTAN WAS QUIPPED AS A ‘YARN BOMBED’ APART- MENT. HOW LONG DID IT ACTUALLY TAKE YOU TO CROCHET THE APARTMENT AND IT’S BELONGINGS IN ITS ENTIRETY?

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”—Albert Einstein

4. YOU HAVE ALSO MANAGED TO CROCHET THE BULL OF WALL STREET. THAT’S AN AMAZING ACT OF GUERRILLA CROCHET. WHAT WAS ITS MEANING AND HOW LONG WAS IT BEFORE IT WAS TAKEN DOWN?

The Wall Street Bull was guerilla action in itself. It was made by Arturo Di Modica as a response to the market crash of 1987. The bull, or as I call it ‘Project B,’ was destroyed after 2 hours. I arrived at 2:30am and was working non-stop till 6:30am to complete the project. The title of my next solo show is: “The Bad Artists Imitate, The Great Artists Steal!”

5. YOU HAVE ALSO CROCHETED A TRIBUTE TO STREET ARTIST BANKSY. DOES HIS MESSAGE OF ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT HUMOR AND IRONY INSPIRE SOME OF YOUR OWN WORK?

Someone called my work environmental graffiti. I really liked that. My art changes from place to place while I study the local culture. My work seeks to bring color and life, energy, and surprise to public spaces. After crocheting the first readymade, I decided to pay homage to Marcel Duchamp and so I crocheted the bike wheel on the stool. Recently, I was referred to as a street artist by the press and public. I wanted to pay my respect to one of the most iconic figures of the street art movement. I am placing a series of ‘The Girl with the Balloons’ image coinciding with the Oscars as support for Banksy’smovie.

6. WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE YOU MOVE TO NEW YORK FROM YOUR HOMELAND OF POLAND?

In 1999, my English teacher said Poland isn’t ready for you and that I must come to New York.

7. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT NEW YORK?

I love that New Yorkers are ambitious, hard working, creative, accepting, and always pushing themselves to new achievements. And most importantly, NYC loves my work, I can never forget about it!

8. WHICH MONUMENT, SCULPTURE OR PLACE WOULD YOU LOVE TO CROCHET OVER NEXT?

That’s a secret. If you want to know more about me and art…stare at the camouflage crochet, fol- low the neon threads, imagine the hands working loop after loop, and think about the sculpture unraveling. I want the viewer to love my art and feel anxious because she knows that my work is ephemeral. I want them to enjoy the beauty of an art form that is always changing, being destroyed, and reformed as a new work. Kind of like New York itself.

QUICK RANDOM ONES
FAVORITE CLOTHING STORE IN NEW YORK?

Change of Season.

FAVORITE OUTDOOR SPACE IN MANHATTAN?

Brooklyn Bridge between 3-5am.

WHOSE JOB WOULD YOU LOVE TO STEAL FOR A DAY?

I have the best job on the planet.

BEST COCKTAIL BAR IN MANHATTAN?

Cocktails are for pussies, I drink vodka.

 **THIS INTERVIEW CAN ALSO BE VIEWED VIA THE MFD SITE – http://www.mfdirectory.com/interviews.
THANKS TO ANGELIQUE MAX, EDITOR OF MFD, FOR ARRANGING THE INTERVIEW.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s