The Yarn Dawgz have been bombing SA with unauthorized art installs for over a year now. And until the end of March, you can find some of their unexpected artworks on the street with the city’s blessing for a change. Pole cozies, the Dawgz’ signature form of yarn bombing, also called yarn graffiti for its customary illicit nature, are wrapped on parking meters along several blocks of Grayson Street next to the Pearl Brewery’s collection of high-end shops, in an authorized CAM event. The Dawgz are Dino Foxx, Billy Muñoz, and Manuel (Cros) Esquivel (three guys who knit). The guys are also the Push Pens, a performance group based at Jump-Start Performance Company, where Foxx and Muñoz both teach. Their play The Last Call for Truth, a self-written hip-hop musical, will open at Jump-Start April 21.
While there are both male and female fiber artists in the fine arts community, knitting is still seen as not quite manly by some. Foxx says, “It’s reclaiming a space that is one remove away. We always enjoyed that warm comforter our grandmother made us, but knitting is not something a Latino boy would be taught in SA.”
There are other yarn bombers working in town, but the Dawgz’ work is signed — each piece has a red stripe in it — and they feel compelled to take care of the pieces that are allowed to stay up. Their first project was a stop sign in the Blue Star complex next to Joe Blue’s bar. When it gets weatherworn, they take the piece down and remake it, sometimes changing the colors.
Committed to the community, they have reached outside, too. This year the Yarn Dawgz took part in International Women’s Day by sending 6-by-6-inch squares of yarn work to become part of a huge blanket constructed in Glasgow, Scotland, made to commemorate missing women worldwide.
Whether done covertly or with permission, they have a drive to get their work out into the public. “It’s a total break from reality, ‘What did I just see? A parking meter with a sweater?’” says Muñoz.
Foxx is not sure what they will do with a new opportunity. “The Pearl asked us, ‘So, what’s next?’ and suggested bombing the smoke stack.” Most artists would jump at the chance, but the Dawgz are concerned with pulling it off right.
New projects include collaborating with fashion designers to make shoe coverings during Fashion Week San Antonio, and the group has plans to add text and use stencils in their new pieces, incorporating another form of graffiti into the work.
But now the guys are concerned with cleaning up the Grayson Street project. The artwork may be reused as yarn or panels, but Muñoz says the group will wear gloves to remove the work. “I’m concerned because a dog sniffed around some yarn in the office taken down from a project, and got quite excited. Evidently, a real dog tagged the Yarn Dawgz."