Meet America’s Yarn-Bombing Banksy

He goes by HOTTEA and is changing the non-destructive street art game for good.

1. Here’s Eric Rieger, better known as HOTTEA.

A run-in with taser-wielding Minneapolis cops and the walls of a prison cell turned Rieger off of his first love, graffiti. But he still craved the spontaneity and energy of street art in his subsequent work as a graphic design freelancer.

So Rieger hit upon yarn as a handy hybrid of his two passions: it is non-destructive, easy to manipulate, and conforms remarkably well to the gridded streetscapes and fences that would become Rieger’s canvas.

2. But really, what’s with the name?

Rieger’s dynamic tag is inspired by childhood family visits to Bakers Square where his mom would always order cornbread, hot tea, and honey for dessert. And being that his grandmother actually taught him to knit, the HOTTEA project ties Rieger to his past in both name and medium.

(Watch the complete Vimeo’d story here but * feels alert*: you might need a tissue.)

3. While currently based out of St. Paul, MN, HOTTEA has taken his work everywhere from Los Angeles…

…plus some dabbles in London and Poland. We can only hope he someday teams up with Polish yarn bomber Olek?

11. Perhaps most impressive are the myriad works he’s sprinkled all over Minneapolis and St. Paul…

17. …including an installation at the Minneapolis Institute of Art comprising 84 miles of yarn.

20. He even does portraits:

26. Thanks for beautifying our lives, HOTTEA.

28. Keep up the good work!

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