The Tape Art Crew gave birth to the process of drawing collaboratively with tape and have worked exclusively with the medium for over 30 years. The origins of the medium's application can be traced back to a collection of nightly tape drawings made on sidewalks, courtyards, public spaces and abandoned buildings throughout Providence, Rhode Island starting in the late 80's. The first drawings primarily depicted crash scenes (chariots, trains, roller coasters, etc.) rendered in thestyle of life-sized silhouette police chalk-outlines.
These drawings had a tendency to sprawl across many surfaces and often generated a succession of narrative steps spanning over several days. When the work was finished they were always removed within 24 hours to make way for new artwork that would appear before the sun came up.
To this day the tradition of drawing collaboratively, life-sized and with an intention of removing the work after its completion continue to be some of the trademarks of Tape Art..
The first collaborative Tape Art drawing was made on the night of September 16th, 1989 in Providence, Rhode Island. The list to the right is an archive of the first 30 Tape Art drawings. This time period includes the first paid murals, the first national press, the beginning of teaching workshops, the first grants and the introduction of a low adhesive blue tape that would forever change how the work was made.
Firetrucks, national tours and 52,000 square foot drawings define The Pioneer Years. At one point the Tape Art Crew traveled 29,000 miles in six months creating work in 40 different states resulted in a body of work that showed that Tape Art had a role to play as public art in a variety of urban environments as well as a social role in psychiatric facilities, children’s hospitals and schools.
The company producing the perfect tape for drawing decided to stop making it. These two years were dedicated to testing and researching new tapes from the global market to find a replacement. In the summer of 2001 in the hills of Tennessee a new green tape makes Tape Art possible again.
These five years were dominated by the creation of a rogue September 11th memorial drawn on the walls of New York City. This massive guerilla-style street art project resulted in life-sized portraits of every fireman and airline passenger who died at the World Trade Center.
James, Jay and Michael take the lead on the Tape Art experiment for a few years and continue to push the boundaries of drawing in hospitals, school residencies and end their time together with the creation of an epic stop stop animation project.
This half a decade was consumed by Tape Art being pulled in two polar and oddly complimentary directions with an increased interest in museums curating and sponsoring our public art works and major corporations utilizing our collaborative drawing workshops.
The mission to share the benefits of this collaborative drawing method continue to energize us after over 30 years of public art installations, educational workshops and art -and-healing projects.
Post pandemic, our focus has turned towards bringing tape drawing to the greatest number of people possible via the design, manufacture, and sale of hand-held Tape Art slide projectors. We are excited to see where this new project takes us.
Michael Townsend (1989-Present)
Kim Hoffnagle (1989-Present)
Charles Bandes (1989-1994)
Laurel Craft (1989-1996)
George Harvey (1989-1991)
Ammie Comeo (1989-1991)
Jessica Alcorn (1989-1991)
John Donalds (1989-1991)
Bruce Tennis (1990-1991)
Dave Hartley (1991-Present)
Rob Coggshell (1991-Present)
Erica Duthie (1992-####)*
Melissa Brown (1993-1995)
Deborah Abramson (1994-1998, 2008-2009)
Struan Ashby (1995-####)*
Nektaria Glinou (1997-Present)
Miles Lacouture (1997-1998, 2013-2015)
Colin Bliss (2002-Present)
Erik Talley (2002-2014)
Andrew Oesch (2002-2004)
Jay Zehngebot (2004-2008)
James Mercer (2004-2014)
Sam White (2007-Present)
Leah Smith (2011-Present)
Kristen Carbone (2013-2017)
*Founders of Tape Art New Zealand
Blair De St Croix
Notable Tape Art Milestones:
1989 — First masking tape drawing made on September 16th at 3 in the morning
1992 — First commissioned tape mural made in Cleveland, Ohio.
1994 — Secured 1-800-TapeArt (before email existed this was important).
1995 — Completed first national tour.
1996 — Launched tapeart.com as a resource for artists, students, and teachers to share this new medium with as wide an audience as possible.
1997 — Spent an entire year designing and facilitating art programs for special needs populations.
1998 — Commissioned to create a 52,000 square foot mural wrapping the entire exterior of the Worcester Art Museum.
1998 — Filmed first life-sized tape stop animation.
2001 — Started what would become a 5-year rogue memorial responding to 9/11 on the streets of Manhattan.
2010 — Kicked off a decade of using collaborative drawing to teach leadership and teamwork in corporate environments.
2015 — Introduced tape drawing to 50,000th student since the first workshops in 1992.
2020 — Dedicated two years to working almost exclusively in psychiatric facilities with at-risk teenagers.