Brooklyn Street Art

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Hot Tea Creates a Swimming “Asylum” on Roosevelt Island

Posted on May 19, 2015

Street Artist and installation artist Hot Tea is back in New York and getting ready for summer by blending his color palette into concrete rather than suspending it strand-by-strand in the air.


Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Minneapolis based yarn artist very possibly has some Mexican blood because this private pool commission is strikingly washed in color that plays with the structural geometry in a way reminiscent of work by the architect Luis Barragan and his disciple Ricardo Legorreta. The Spanish conquerors were reportedly impressed with the colorfully painted buildings as well as the advanced architecture they found when they invaded the Aztec City of Tenochtitlan, now known as Mexico City and here on Roosevelt Island Hot Tea embraces jubilant color with the same passion that the two Mexican Masters did in their public and private projects.


Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In his large scale yarn installations the gradient fade from one color to another in three dimensional circumstances can evoke deeper emotional/psychological responses than one may expect: likely because of the gradual shifts and bending light waves and your own associations that are triggered by color. Now using paint instead of yarn, Hot Tea says that the desired effect is the same.

“This piece is inspired by my color field installations that take up both private and public spaces.  I love introducing color to spaces that seem neglected or forgotten.”

Once the home of an asylum, the island is still a quasi secret getaway that just happens to lie in the plain view of Manhattan and Queens. Because of its location and its history, the artist says he has felt that the pool project has summoned both associations of a place to escape to and a place where mental states are out of balance.


Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I entitled this piece “Asylum” because the act of creating it pushed my mental and physical endurance so far that I wasn’t sure I could complete the task,” he says of the challenge. Painting by himself such a large expanse in only a few days may have been more difficult than he had estimated, but he is satisfied with the otherworldly effect the result is summoning.

“When people experience my installations I hope that they will remember the experience far after the moment is gone.  My goal for people who are viewing my work is to evoke subconscious feelings one may have forgotten.”


Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Hot Tea, perfectly framed by his own creation, takes a lap in your imagination. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)



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