For the past 17 years, Sam Barsky has knit sweaters that depict places he’s seen around the world, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Stonehenge, Jerusalem’s Western Wall — even a field of electrical pylons.
But what’s made Barsky an internet phenomenon, with well over a million hits on various websites, are photos of the knitter himself posing in front of a scene, wearing his matching sweater.
With more than 100 handmade sweaters under his belt, the 42-year-old says the only limitation he has is the one months’ time it takes to make one.
“This is what I enjoy doing, I like creating. I like replicating what I see in life, and what I anticipate seeing.”
And that’s just where he finds his artistic inspiration.
“Pretty much any kind of iconic landmark or natural scene — anything, possibly — it could be in my dreams,” Barsky says.
As for the electrical pylon sweater, “I see them all the time, in all my routine travels around the local area,” he says. “They’re everywhere, so pretty much anything that crosses my eyes is a potential sweater and the pylons are no exception.”
For his next project, he’s setting his sights on a Groundhog Day sweater — featuring a groundhog on it, of course.
Another ambitious knitting feat of his? Faces — he’s working on a Martin Luther King sweater, just in time for the civil rights leader’s birthday.
Now that his art’s virality has garnered him new fame, Barsky says, “I’m flooded with requests — so many I can’t even see all of them.”
But he’s not quite up to fulfilling those requests, sticking to his own artistic direction that got him the attention in the first place.
“I’ve thought about it before, but I’ve realized early on, a long time ago, that it’s not practical for me to be a human sweater mill.”