Tape Sculpturing – A Very Singular Form of Art

If this is the first time you are hearing about Tape Sculpturing, chances are you will be more than a little awed by it. Made using materials like packing tape, cling-wrap, and ordinary household items such as broken toys, a Tape Sculpture is an upright life-size sculpture of an object made entirely of tape. While that may not sound astounding enough, imagine walking down the road and coming across this:

Tape Sculpturing - A Very Singular Form of Art

Stunned yet? So are a lot of other people. Tape Sculpting has taken the world of alternative art by storm, capturing the imagination of enthusiasts all over the globe.

Why tape, of all the mundane things, you might wonder. Well, Tape Sculptors utilize the gauzy, translucent quality of the material to bring a surreal, dreamy touch to their art. Add to that the lifelike, yet lifeless nature of the installations, and you understand why they have such an eerie, Dali-sque effect on an onlooker.

Tape Sculpturing - A Very Singular Form of Art

A Tape Sculpture is made by covering a discarded object such as an old plastic doll with cling-wrap, taping it over with packing tape, cutting an incision at the pack, pulling the object out of the wrap, and taping up the incision. Sounds ridiculously simple, right?

 Tape Sculpturing - A Very Singular Form of Art

Well, rest assured, it’s not. Artists need enormous patience, dexterity, and imagination to create the effect that each installation manages to give off. A moderately complicated structure can take intense concentration and labor.

While many artists use mannequins for human-size sculptures, Mark Jenkins, an artist who has already earned worldwide acclaim for his work in this field, goes a step further and makes sculptors with LIVING people as subjects! Watch him in action in this video, as he sculpts out the figure of a young woman. Don’t be fooled by the time-lapse, this entire project took him considerably longer time to complete.

You’re not the only one who thinks the model looks a tad nervous. Imagine having to be still for hours, being mummified in packing tape. But as you can see for yourself, the results are certainly worth it.

Not freaked out enough? Listen to this – Several artists also make self-sculptures, which means they have to tape their limbs over one at a time, and then peel them off and use the bits to create a whole piece. We laud the endurance and skill of these artists, and their dedication to the art.

Tape Sculpturing - A Very Singular Form of Art

Mark has been creating street art since 2003, when he started scattering the lanes of Rio de Janeiro with sculptures he modeled on his own body parts, such as this one:

Tape Sculpturing - A Very Singular Form of Art

Since then, he has displayed his art in exhibitions and streets in cities all over the world, like this hilarious yet deep piece he did in Moscow:

Tape Sculpturing - A Very Singular Form of Art

That’s right, he made a sculpture on sperms wiggling towards a trashcan. Now sit and ponder on what that could possibly mean.

So, what motivates a person to create bizarre, almost shocking sculptures and strew them all over town? Well, shock is in fact one of the things that Mark aims for. He feels it is necessary to occasionally shake people up, to jerk them out of their semi-aware obsessions and open their eyes to the wider world. Many of his sculptures depict people about to jump off ledges, people floating down rivers, and maimed bodies. This is a sample of his work in the Storker project, in which sculptures of babies in strange acrobatic postures were spread around in the streets of over 15 cities:

Tape Sculpturing - A Very Singular Form of Art

(the white dot under the bridge is a dangling baby. Give yourself some time to recover your speech now. )

He regards his art as interactive and inclusive. He sets the stage on the streets, and onlookers, ordinary passersby, and authority figures each play a role around the sculpture, which sets a theme. So if you see a strange Tape Sculptor on your way to work, appreciate that you too are playing a role here, and don’t forget to lurk around and observe other people’s reactions!

Intrigued? Think you’d like to try your hand at this unique and challenging form of art? Or perhaps you’ve already taken up Tape Sculpting as a hobby. If you think you have tenacity, talent, and imagination enough to create art at par with these,

 Tape Sculpturing - A Very Singular Form of Art

(last year’s winners)

don’t waste it! This could be your chance to let loose the artist inside you, win up to $5000, and have the whole world or art enthusiasts fawning over your creation! If you are 16 years or older, go to the Scotch off The Roll website, register yourself and submit your entry by no later than March 24, 2012. You will need one to three color photographs of your entry to upload on the site. Apart from the Grand First Prize of $5000, a first runner-up will receive $1,000 and three second runners-up will each receive a $500 cash prize.

 All the very best! Happy Sculpting!