Guest blog from the Tape Art Crew, Michael Townsend and Leah Smith.
September 13, 2017: The Orpheum Theatre: Lobster Piñata
The sponsor requested some public art downtown, so a drawing of a legendary large lobster piñata it is! The pageantry of this piñata unfolds with a line of youths excited to participate in its destruction.
As we come upon the scene a young boy has already tasted the sweet victory of candy spilling from the pinatas overhead. The drawing is frozen in the time right before the bevy of young bat-weidlers have their way with the paper-mache creatures.
Sponsored by Joanna and Josh Lipman.
September 14, 2017: Christ Methodist Day School: Two Fallen Trees
There has been a storm in Memphis that has toppled two of its majestic trees inside the Christ Methodist Day School. This has unleashed a hoard of animals that were living in the branches, only, there is something not quite right. Each animal is ALMOST familiar, but has an element of the uncanny about it!
Forty fifth grade students at Christ Methodist Day School were challenged to imagine and draw these slightly off animals. Their solutions included: deer with infinite antlers, birds with bows, a gentleman platypus complete with monocle and top hat, a horned snake, a butterfly with sunglasses, a fish with wings, two dragons dueling in hats, and many others.
With a half-hour left to draw, the fifth grade worked with 68 kindergarten students to help them add foliage to the trees one leaf at a time. Working together they added the final visual push to make a really beautiful drawing.
Sponsored by Sarah and David Thompson.
September 14, 2017: Carpenter Street Art Garden: What does community look like?
Community is a challenging subject to draw. There are communities based on a wide range of commonalities, from geographic location to religious or political beliefs to hobbies and interests, to many more.
The two groups of students we worked with at The Carpenter Art Garden tackled the representation of community and both came up with different and interesting solutions.
The middle school students considered community as a place where many people could share a common area while still enjoying different activities. They considered the park to be the best example of these types of spaces and their mural displays the community of people enjoying this common space: someone playing basketball, a pair of girls swinging, a person reading a book, people riding bikes and running.
The high school students directed their attention to how technology can bring together a community that does not share the same space. They drew figures that were separated by the windows along the wall. Every figure was engaged in a different activity, but all were part of the same social community via their cell phones.
Sponsored by Elizabeth Rouse, ArtsMemphis.
September 15, 2017: Hanley Elementary School: Blast off!
For Hanley Elementary School we had the opportunity to create a small mural on the stage in their cafeteria for their annual Grandparent’s Day. While we drew in secret behind the curtains of the stage, Hanley students, staff and families treated us to the most dramatic reveal of any Tape Art mural ever made. At the end of the morning meeting, the curtains were opened and we were met by a wall of smiling faces and applause. Bravo!
The mural features a young girl being launched into space on the back of a rocket ship controlled by her peers on the ground. The image was meant to inspire students to continue to explore and discover science, and was in a small way a celebration of the final day of the Cassini mission to Saturn.
While we were working on the mural we got the opportunity to talk to groups of students and answer questions about the history and process of Tape Art. They were especially interested in the wide range of different taping techniques.
Sponsored by nexAir.
September 15, 2017: Crosstown Concourse: They Built the Temple
When we first entered the Crosstown Concourse we were immediately struck by the scale of the space and its potential as a community and arts hub. As were were shown around, everywhere we looked we saw one main character repeated over and over - construction workers. Their continuing efforts have been going on for years to bring this amazing building back to life. These characters are the ones through whom all the dreams for that space must pass through.
Moved by these creatures of construction, we created a strange little drawing as an ode to their work. Here a central winged construction figure holding out a hammer and a wrench is lifted into the air by a pair of workers on the ground.
These workers are framed by three intricate gears. The idea was to give the scene angelic overtones to lend a sense of sacredness to their work. This is evident in the pose of the winged man as well as the stained-glass quality of the gear design.
Sponsored by nexAir.
September 16, 2017: The Art Project @ Overton Square: Under Memphis
Working with The Art Project, we spent an entire day drawing with families in Overton Square.
We started by creating a small mural on the background of the square’s main stage to help frame the work that would take over the ground plane of the square. This mural depicted a water treatment plant overrun by squirrels. As a result of this furry attack, the water from underneath Memphis spilled out of the pipes and flooded the entire square. The flood also washed up all the things hiding underneath the city, things we never knew were there.
Families drawing together depicted everything from fish and spiders, to narwals, unicorns, sharks, and jellyfish.
At the end of the day we worked with a dedicated group to remove the mural in progressive steps so that we could create an animation that would bring the drawings to life.
By reversing the order of the photographs we made a short animation of the tape creatures appearing to flow out of the pipes and onto the square.
Watch the final result!
Sponsored by Mary and Bob Loeb.
About Tape Art:
The Tape Art movement originated in Providence, Rhode Island in 1989 in the form of large-scale, collaborative drawings created in public spaces. The original Tape Art Crew continues to pioneer and evolve this medium and over the last 28 years they have produced over 500 public works and thousands of smaller drawings in locations around the globe. Click here to learn more.