Tape Art Redux: the Aesthetics of Tape


Space of Suspense #2by Mark Khaisman, 2005, packaging tape on clear plastic, 36” x 48”

In an earlier MadSilence post (The art of tape, 10/31/07), we learned of American street artist Mark Jenkins and his artwork made of packing tape.  Now, thanks to weblog REUBENMILLER, we learn of tape artist Mark Khaisman.  Interestingly, while Jenkins uses packing tape to create three-dimensional sculptures, Khaisman applies multiple layers of packing tape to a Plexiglas canvas.  When suffused with light from behind the affect can be dramatic. 

When considering the works of Jenkins and Khaisman it becomes difficult to dismiss tape as a “punk medium.”  Khaisman, an experienced mid-career artist, discussed in a 2006 interview his preference for packing tape as artistic medium:

Q: Why are you using this technique?
A: It looks right
Q: Is your art all about unconventional medium?
A: No, the overlapping of the layers of tape gives me the effect that I can not achieve otherwise,
Q: Let’s say you can achieve the same effect with some traditional medium, egg tempera, for instance, or thin layers of oil, what will you loose besides the light?
A: The feeling of instantaneousness 


Beyond Love by Mona Superhero

Beyond packing tape there is…duct tape.  Artist Mona Superhero uses relief-cut, brightly colored duct tape to sculpt images that are “dangerously sexy and thought provoking”.


Pavement art by Buff Diss

Buff Diss is an Australian artist who uses masking tape to create designs on the pavements of Melbourne.  Apparently the decay of the tape wearing away is part of the appeal of the piece.  Take a look at this YouTube video of Diss making his masking tape art.


As transient as it may seem, a masking tape sign inside Shinjuku Station showed passengers the way around a construction site for several weeks. This is the next ‘exhibition’ of Shuetsu Sato’s gaffer tape art, as seen currently at Nippori Station: A sign leading to the ticket booth. From PingMag.

And from PingMag we have the story of railway employee Shuetsu Sato who took matters in his own hands and started taping signage in huge Japanese characters with masking tape in clever ways, just so passengers could find their way around.  His transient tape art became so popular that film artist collective TrioFour eventually made a documentary about Sato’s unique guide system.   


Alien.  Lesson to be learned: one can not judge the intentions of aliens.  From Tape Art Live

Finally, some educators and artists recognized tape’s potential when applied to colaborative community-based public art projects that empower others to draw.  Tape Art Live “practices and teaches a method to create temporary, large-scale murals and installations designed to interact considerately with both viewer and environment. Tape Art demonstrates a dynamic, collaborative process that invigorates not only the drawn-on space, but the viewer’s perception of that space’s possiblities.”

Note:  Check out REUBENMILLER.  This cool weblog “dedicated to collecting and presenting the most interesting and noteworthy design, art, ID and sustainable designs” is definitely worth a visit. 

Related links:
Mark Khaisman Tapeworks


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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dmariemart
    Jan 12, 2008 @ 12:48:31

    Wow! I totally love the duct tape art. Very clever!


  2. madsilence
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 11:10:45

    Mark Khaisman, an experienced and apparently successful midcareer artist, has hit on a medium that captures the public’s interest and is aesthetically pleasing as well. I’d like to view one of his portraits in person. He captures the modernist vision: a non-traditional medium used to produce quality art. I’d take Khaisman over Chuck Close any day.


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