Knitta Please Makes ACL More Huggable

You’ve probably already seen her installations around Austin, cozying up and bringing some more color to the Lamar underpass, the sign at the South Congress Jo’s Coffee, and right here at ACL Fest, with dangling rainbow tubes and a giant A-R-T at the entrance to our Art Market. Knitta Please founder Magda Sayeg is leading a pleasantly rebellious new wave of arts and crafts aficionados in a quest to beautify some unlikely places. We caught up with her at Saturday’s ACL Fest to chat a bit about her work:

What was your most recent project before coming out to ACL?

I was in Bali for three weeks and I wrapped the pistol of an 8 meter high statue of a soldier. And a dagger. I also wrapped a Vespa and its sidecar, which is awesome–it’s like my fourth vehicle and I guess I’m turning into the wacky, “I’ll cover your vehicle in knitting! Yah!” It was cool because it was used in a campaign and I remember seeing it driven by this beautiful, tall German model riding through the desert.

Any upcoming knitting projects you’re excited about?

I have two projects in New York right now. Once is for Etsy’s headquarters; I’m going to be wrapping their complete A/C duct system–like 10,000 feet! Also, at the Standard Hotel I’m doing an installation with lighting and knitting, something I’m really enjoying.

Who are your influences?

I really do relate to the graffiti side of art. Because as much as it is kinda sweet and cute, using knitting, I started this just like a graffiti artist would: unsanctioned and out on the streets. Early on, when I discovered Barry McGee at one of his first shows in Houston it really blew my mind. My understanding of graffiti was dudes writing their names on underpasses. Here I saw graphics and art and I loved it. Besides that, I love Jeff Koons and Tom Friedman, taking materials that are familiar and making beautiful sculptures from them. I like the idea of taking familiar things out of their context. Also, Dr. Seuss.

What’s next for Knitta, Please?

I think that in a perfect world, I’m living, breathing, and working in a creative environment. I want to dabble in product design–I did iPhone covers and I had so much fun with them and they were such a success that it makes me want to do other cool stuff like that. That’s the thing, I’m traveling a lot, which is fun, so I get to see all these awesome places. I’m traveling the world doing something I love.