Street art has a mixed reputation, at least among fans of law and order. Even the coolest graffiti can draw finger-wagging about property value and vandalism. Polish street artist NeSpoon, however, might be the exception. “People generally like what I do, even the old ladies who usually hate graffiti,” she told The Huffington Post. “I always work with respect for the spot and the local context.”
NeSpoon’s trademark lace installations and murals, which appear all over the world, take inspiration from local textile arts. “I sample the patterns from real, existing laces,” she said. “In my artwork I always try to use local laces from the country where I currently work.”
As the artist makes clear, she does not weave the lace herself, but uses the folk art of others to create ethereal, cobweb clouds in unlikely urban jungles and untamed pockets of nature. In other pieces, she reinterprets the lace patterns into murals and etched images, blanketing industrial urban walls with intricate filigree, granting these harsh cityscapes a new softness.
Lace work, so often considered a humble domestic art, holds a deeper significance for NeSpoon. “In every lace we can find a universal aesthetic code, which is deeply embedded in every culture,” she explained. “In every lace we find symmetry, some kind of order and harmony. Is it not that which we all are looking instinctively for?”
By choosing an art form associated with women, NeSpoon imbues her works with femininity. “I think that no man would use the laces as a medium,” she said. “I travel a lot and all over the world only women weave laces.” Rather than rejecting this relegation of women to often-unsung practical arts, she celebrates the association of the lace with women’s work. “Maybe it's proof that we are the source of natural harmony in the universe,” she said. “It flows out of us.”
After a recent tour of Hong Kong, Finland and Australia, she’s headed next to Hungary and France to continue spreading harmony through her art.