Home / Funny / Viral / Graffiti Artist Creates Mesmerising Yarn Installation Inspired By His Beloved Grandma


One sentence that best describes Eric Rieger's practice as a contemporary artist, going by the moniker HOTTEA, is, "My work deals with colour, numbers, and human experiences." His intricate yarn installations defy simplicity and straightforwardness, in contrast to this description. With an endless amount of vibrant fibres, these pieces are guaranteed to dazzle. But for HOTTEA, the unifying factor in his practice is the significance of the medium.

The artist told the media outlet, My Modern Met, “My artwork started with the foundation of using yarn. Since my first experiments, I have built upon this foundation and now create installations that adapt to their spaces.” According to HOTTEA, his grandmother helped him with these "first experiences" by teaching him how to knit when he was just four or five years old. Even though he had this memory in his subconscious for years, he didn't think of using thread until he became bored with graffiti, which was his preferred medium before installation art.

Although using spray paint satisfied his creative need, he quickly came to the conclusion that he disliked graffiti's shady aspect. He made the decision to give it up and focus on something much more personal. "I felt a void in my life artistically after I stopped using spray paint illegally," he said.

“I knew I wanted this new project to be different than my past life as a graffiti writer. I didn’t want to do my art at night as a secret from my family. I wanted my artwork to be about my family and to be very open about it. Being a graffiti writer, you cannot reveal your identity—not only did I want to reveal my identity with this new project but I wanted to be vulnerable about who I am.”

HOTTEA is an installation artist who has produced many eye-catching site-specific pieces. Although the artist's work has been commissioned by both New York Fashion Week and "Sesame Street," the pieces vary in terms of design and type of collaboration, but they are all influenced by the artist's personal memories and his ability to finally share them with others. He told us, "A lot of people can understand where I am coming from because there are so many parallels in life." “When I do a project about losing a loved one or suffering through an abusive relationship, there is someone out there who can relate to what I am addressing. As a graffiti writer, the only people who could relate were other graffiti writers. I feel what I am doing now has the ability to reach a much larger audience and I am very aware of that.”

He uses colour, "one of the few universal languages that can be understood by anyone regardless of their nationality or upbringing," to cast this net as wide as possible. This interest in tone has shown itself in installations that are metallic and monochromatic, in addition to his well-known rainbow palette.

What will happen to HOTTEA next? His artwork will be on display in SCOPE Miami Beach's atrium in December. Although he hasn't revealed his plans for the art fair, one thing is certain: people will be moved by his yarn art.

“Yarn evokes so many memories and feelings that are positive,” he says. “It is hard to think of yarn and recall of a bad memory. Yarn keeps us warm in the winter, it calms our soul on a long train ride, and it often reminds us of our grandmothers.”

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