Tape Art

Rolling creature by Melissa Evans, freshman studio art major.

Tracey Graves

“Rolling creature” by Melissa Evans, freshman studio art major.

Tape can be used to hold car doors shut, remove lint or to plan a facial, but on the Missouri Southern campus, tape is used, above all, for art.

At Spiva Library, artwork, made entirely of tape, is displayed in one of the main stairwells.

“The idea was that they go large, and they go collaborative,” said Josie Mai, assistant professor of art.

The students in Josie Mai’s Beginning Drawing class were given the assignment of creating a large drawing using only tape for their material.

“I wanted some sort of quick and easy material that wouldn’t damage the wall,” Mai said. “I was at some kind of furniture show where they lined the walls with black tape to focus the buyers’ attention on the furniture. I thought the use of black tape was a good idea. My students were very excited and open to the idea of using it for their artwork.”

This is Mai’s second year to assign the tape art project to her beginning art students, but it is the first time the art has been displayed outside the art department.

“I’m always looking for ways to get art out of the department,” Mai said. “I went to Wendy McGrane, the head librarian, with the idea, and she was very supportive.”

Even though using tape seemed like a fun, interesting tool, some of the students had to overcome a few obstacles with the material.

“I thought the tape was a really interesting format to use, but I couldn’t stretch it or curve it at all, which was kind of a problem,” said Sandra Rogers, sophomore undecided major.

Unfortunately, moving the art outside the art department had some consequences.

“There were some problems with vandalizing,” Mai said. “Some of the students were devastated once they were vandalized. It was kind of emotional to them because the art wasn’t private anymore. It was public.”

The students were also presented with a new challenge with this project. They were required to work in pairs.

“I wanted the project to be large scale,” Mai said. “For an artist to work with some else, it’s not very typical, and it’s hard.”

However, despite some of the challenges the students faced, their experience proved to be a positive one.

“Josie Mai makes you feel comfortable and confident in art,” Rogers said. “She comes at you in all different directions. Next thing you know, you step back and look at your art portfolio and think, ‘Wow, I did that.'”