A yarn bomber is a street artist who uses knitting to cover objects in public spaces—like this railing shown at right—with bright colors. Hemmons recently quit her day job as a clinical research coordinator to pursue her art full-time.
Where do you live and how old are you? I live in Philadelphia, Pa. and I am 26.
How did you get into yarn bombing? I began knitting while I was in graduate school, finishing my degree in Clinical Psychology. I have had no formal art training, but I have always enjoyed street art and graffiti very much. The rebelliousness and the politics of street art have always resonated with me. When I saw photos of other individuals using knitting for projects in public, I fell in love with it immediately. I put up my first yarn bomb the very next day.
What’s the best part of your job? Having the freedom to conceptualize projects on my own, and getting to see and hear the reactions of viewers. Usually I walk away from my work after I put up an installation, but I get to use social media to see photos of people with the project, hear people’s reaction to the work, and hear how a project was taken down.
What’s the worst part of your job? The worst part of my job is that the commissions tend to be unreliable. I will receive a call about a project and find out a week, month, or months later that they aren’t interested anymore. It is as though they will lay a pile of money in front of me and then take it away. That can feel like an emotional roller coaster at times.
Do you have any employees or assistants? I have worked with interns, but I complete most of my projects on my own because my work hours are unusual and I can also be very impulsive with my projects. I will come up with an idea and want to execute it within the next day or so.
How do you get paid for public art? Most of my income has been from private or public commissions, meaning that a company or city will come to me with a project proposal.
How much do you earn as a yarn bomber? I am in the beginning of my commercial art career and only make about $20,000 a year from art alone. I have been offered about $35,000, but as I mentioned before many projects fall through.
Would you recommend this line of work to anyone else? I would definitely recommend this job to anyone with self-discipline, drive, and an ability to be flexible. It is a great career for anyone that feels more comfortable working for themselves than for someone else. You should also be comfortable with the unknown, financially.
Follow TIME contributor Anita Hamilton on twitter: @anitafhamilton