Break out your wraparound shades and Hypercolor shirts for the pool party this summer – street artist Hot Tea (né Eric Rieger) was recently hired by design firm K & Co. to repaint the Manhattan Park Pool on Roosevelt Island. The piece, entitled “Asylum,” had the Minneapolis-based artist running back and forth to the hardware store to pick up ever more paint – over 130 gallons in total.
This is a marked departure from the artist’s signature yarnbombing. Using quick-drying epoxy paint, Rieger had to work much more swiftly than with the medium of yarn. But even with five helpers the project still took a week and a half to complete, working 19 hours a day on the deck and pool bottom. According to an interview with Brooklyn Street Art, “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.”
The island also used to house the New York City Lunatic Asylum. The asylum, decommissioned in 1955, gained notoriety in 1887 when reporter Nellie Bly faked insanity in order to write an exposé on hospital conditions.
Aerial images of the Manhattan Park Pool show a stunning color field of gradient neons popping out of the dark greenery of the surrounding park. The pool’s facelift, which debuts this Saturday, is a sort of last hurrah before the entire park is demolished and rebuilt this fall. The colors look bright enough to tan the underside of your nose… or drive you crazy.
Roosevelt Island too far for you? You can follow the over-saturated fun by browsing #mp_poolparty on Instagram.