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If Grannies Did Graffiti, It Might Look Like This Yarn Tagging

Credit the shadowy artist SPIDERTAG for spreading a type of "graffiti" that, should you carelessly stumble upon it, could wind up wrapped all over your face.

SPIDERTAG, who insists on the ALL CAPS, is the nom de guerre of a Madrid-based entity (Male? Female? Arachnid?) who tags exclusively in yarn. Traveling around the city with a grannie-like basket of balls and skeins, SPIDERTAG halts before a spot that could use more color and methodically ensnares it in a bright network of quivering strands. The artist uses nails driven into the wall on ground as anchors; in terms of locations, SPIDERTAG often works on top of existing graffiti but has been known to venture out into the countryside to spruce up old logs and snow.

These sudden yarn installments recall that twee-est of urban sneak art, yarn bombing, but eschew practical shapes like scarves or cozies for a mathematically chaotic mess. I asked SPIDERTAG how the whole spider-tagging thing came out, and here's what popped up in my inbox:

I started in the spring of 2008. I was looking for new materials to intervene in the street. Something more than just spray cans. Walking down the streets, I saw an old fashion store of wool. I entered, talked with the old owners. I got fascinated. I was always a fan of geometry. Then I started to test in the streets how it work. And voilà!

Below, find some of SPIDERTAG's wooly wonders in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Berlin and elsewhere. The images of nature (including the night scene above) were taken with photographer Thomas Stöckli during a four-day sojourn in the Swiss Alps and the outskirts of Zurich.

All photos courtesy of SPIDERTAG on Flickr.

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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