Best Street Artist
HOTTEA (a.k.a. Eric Rieger)
After MCAD graduate Eric Rieger had one too many brushes with the law over his graffiti habit, he decided to branch out into a form of urban art that was less spray paint, more yarn. Now, nearly five years later, his string creations brighten otherwise gray chain link fences and pedestrian walkways throughout the Cities and encourage passersby to stop and decipher their intricate yarn typography. Often, those letters spell out HOTTEA, a message that quickly became Rieger's alter ego. In summer 2012, Rieger took his yarn art off the streets and into the museum when he constructed the 14,000-string installation letting go in the rotunda at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Since then, he's guest-taught at his alma mater, and he continues to yarn-bomb at home and, increasingly, throughout the country. Outside, many of his delicate pieces last only a few days, but that ephemeral quality only adds to the surprising joy of Rieger's work. Pause and take it in before it's gone.