Growing up in cold, industrial Silesia, Poland, Agata Oleksiak used colorful crafts to chase away the wintry chill and boost her happy quotient. Crocheting became an obsession, and after relocating to the United States, where she taught herself English by watching subtitled movies, her life and her art became, as she puts it, inseparable.
These days, the now-solo-monikered Olek gets into the knitty-gritty by blanketing every possible surface—from toasters and toilets to the Wall Street bull sculpture and subway riders—in her Day-Glo designs. Her biggest work to date is Knitting Is for Pus****, a 15’ x 14’ studio apartment in which every surface, from walls to the TV to the bathroom sink, is covered in intricate stitching. The colorful apartment was on display at the Christopher Henry Gallery in New York City and was also featured in New York magazine. (Those, er, suggestive quotations crocheted into the walls? They’re text messages from former lovers.)
On her website, the “yarn bomber” gives this cryptic explanation for her art: “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 the 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.”