Under the Radar: Julia Rio

You’ve probably already seen her work – it’s all over the streets, and Instagram too. Julia Rio, or Julia Riordan which is her full name, is a Jedi in the artform called yarn bombing. Her art has taken her from the streets in Stockholm to exhibitions in New York, and most recently to a street festival in Abu Dahbi. Radar met up with Julia in her studio to see what she’s knitting these days!

Julia, hi! How’s the February sun treating you?
– I’m good, thank you! I’ve been sick with this long and stubborn cold for a couple of weeks, but I’m still very happy and excited about all my upcoming projects this spring!

Describe your art in 3 words?
– Colorful. Humoristic. Emotional.

If you could cover anything in the world with your yarn, no limits, what would it be and in what colours?
– Oh my god… what to choose… It would be a dream to go to some tropical island… like Bali or something. Just to hang out, meet people, knit all day and cover like 10 palm trees in some crazy rainbow installation. Crazy color combinations is my favourite thing.

What comments do you get from people you meet on the streets?
– It’s really different. I think Stockholm is a really ”stiff” city. A lot of people walk past me without saying anything, but then tries to take a sneaky photo without me noticing, haha. In New York you can get like 15 straight forward positive comments in just 10 minutes from different people. It’s really rare that people tell me to take anything down.

If you were a cartoon – what would your standard outfit be?
– I would have really comfortable soft linen trousers with a tank top and a kimono. Plus a scarf tied in my hair. Everything in dark red and dark blue colors.

What are you most proud of?
– I’m really proud of myself for dropping out of my education at Fashion Knitwear in London a few years ago. I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer and people thought I was living the dream, but I was sooo unhappy there after only two months. It took a lot of courage to drop out, get a life crisis and move back to Sweden, but I am happy and proud that I did it because that lead to me moving to Stockholm and having the life I live now.

Describe your perfect morning.
– I LOVE to just chill out in the morning. I wake up, maybe with a cutie, maybe alone. The sun gleams through my window, I get up, start pumping some nice music, take a shower and then drink my wheat grass with orange juice as I do every morning. Then I prepare a really nice vegan breakfast and eat it in front of the news. Then my day officially starts.

What would a wall quote a lá ”Carpe Diem” be in your home?
– Haha! I actually think I have a poster laying around somewhere at home with the words ”Carpe Fucking Diem”. But I think I would have ”Stay cool” on my wall. So I can look at it and remind myself that no matter what happens I will manage if I just stay cool.

If you didn’t work with art – what would be your profession?
– I think I would’ve worked as a chef! Maybe running my own café or a nice juicebar. Maybe a vegetarian restaurant!

It’s five years in the future – where will we find Julia Rio?
– Then I’ve taken over the world. Haha, no but jokes aside, I hope you’ll find me here and there. I hope that I get to do really big installations abroad. That I get to combine my work and passion with new places and people! Spreading colours and yarn all over the world!

Tell us about your spring plans.
– I just booked a trip to New York in March. I’ve been selected to participate in this group exhibition called ”What’s Her Story”. It’s a really important and political exhibition where different female artists with different kind of crafts will celebrate women’s history and also cover the political situation in the US right now.. I’m really nervous but so happy to be a part of this!

See more of Julia’s art on her Instagram @juliarioknit!