Something as mundane as packing tape, in the right hands, can be transformed into beautiful art. In this case, the ‘right hands’ belong to Ukrainian-born artist Mark Khaisman, who now lives in Philadelphia.
Mark uses nothing but packing tape and light to create his incredible artworks. He is a ‘painter of light’, as he puts it. Indeed, it is the play of light that brings out the true beauty of his ‘paintings’.
His process is simple – he sets Plexiglass sheets on a backlit panel that’s sort of like an architect’s box-light. This is the ‘canvas’ on which he uses the tape to construct images. He places strip after strip of packing tape on the glass, building up the image in layers. As he adds on the layers, less light shines through the glass, creating depth, shadow and definition in the pictures.
Mark’s pieces are often reproductions of scenes from classic Hollywood films. They bring out the essence of a glamorous and stylish old Hollywood. In an interview, he has stated that he is always after the sense of ‘imaginary’ in his works. His noir pieces are haunting and breathtaking at the same time.
Mark graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute in 1983, having studied Art and Architecture. His initial endeavors included architectural practice, stained glass design and puppet animation. It wasn’t until 2004 that he started dabbling in fine art and began his rare obsession with packing tape.
The artwork made by Mark reminds viewers of sepia-tinted photographs. In fact, Mark calls his own work ‘chaotic strokes of sepia’. On first glance, these pictures look like computerized images., but when you look closer, you realize the intricacy of the work involved.
According to Mark, “The tape is the message.” He said that the paintings help stimulate both memory and interpretation, because the art is made of a familiar material, formed into a familiar image. “The works are exploring the familiar as our shared visual history, asking the viewer to recongize and complete the work,” he said about the iconic film scenes that he gets his inspiration from.
The talented artist also makes packing-tape paintings of other subjects – ancient sulptures and photos of family and friends. The way he re-works the original is meant to help people question what they see.
Packing tape art has been featured on OC before: check out Max Zorn’s unique street art.
This is the second time we cover Mark Khaisman’s amazing art. Why? Because we just can’t get enough of it.