I’m walking down the street, when all of a sudden I see a person whose head is melting into the side of a building! Well, my life is not that exciting, this actually never happened to me. This was what happened to people living in Washington D.C., when they saw this on there way to work.
I went to a summer camp in 8th grade where we did all kinds of art media. One of these included creating a tape sculptures. Our instructor got the idea from the artist Mark Jenkins, who creates sculptures using clear tape.
As a kid Jenkins would wrap tape over pencils in reverse and then again by the correct side to seal it (he would get scolded by his teacher for wasting tape). Twenty years later, while being a teacher in Rio de Janeiro, he found himself with a lot of extra time. During this extra time he came back to his childhood technique when he ran out of tin foil while making a ball and used tape instead. From there he started taping everything he could find (he ended up annoying his neighbors with the tape rolling sounds, one even threw mud at his clothes while they were drying). One day he decided to make a cast out of his arm, and then decided to wrap his whole body with tape. However, the tape around his torso was too tight and got caught on his hair and as he was cutting the tape off he ended up cutting himself.
At first Jenkins street sculptures were part of an experiment to see how many people would look up and notice their surroundings, instead of being engrossed in their mobile devices. Now they are a form of expression, just like these baby sculptures that to him symbolize his introduction of a new medium and not being taken care of.
Jenkins was influenced by artists Juan Munoz and Artur Barrio, electronic musician Richard D. James, and the writings by Albert Camus. Jenkins states that a “public space is a battleground, with the government, advertisers and artists all mixing and mashing”. He enjoys that through street art a normal environment becomes a piece of art in itself, such as the signs, trash, and even the people that surround it.
I mentioned earlier that I had made one of these sculptures at a summer camp. We went to an art museum for inspiration, after that everyone was divided into groups. My group decided to make a mermaid. My favorite of all the sculptures made was by a group that was doing a Narnia theme, they made a centaur and a fairy (or at least I think that’s what I was). After we were done with the sculptures we used them to make a stop-motion animation video. And if anyone has ever done stop-motion animation before, you know the frustration that come along with it. Let’s just say that the sculpture did not survive that frustration.
Overall it was a great experience, I had never done something like this before and I definitely would have never thought of using tape in such a way. Try to make your own, you can put it up during Halloween or just do it for fun. First wrap the object with the sticky side of the tape facing the outside, don’t wrap it too tight though because you will have to cut it out later. Then wrap the tape around again, but this time with the sticky side facing the object. Do this about 3 to 5 times(depending on how thick you want it). After that cut the tape off, when the tape is taken off it will be in the shape of the object. Finally tape again over the part you cut off.
Here are some more pictures of Mark Jenkins’ work.
Can you spot the sculptures in the next two pictures?
Some of his Jenkins works have caused people to call the police, maybe because he puts them in places like this.