An Artist Made These Incredible Portraits Out Of Packing Tape

Stills from the movies, images ripped from the Internet or books — they’re all fair game for Philadelphia-based tape artist Mark Khaisman.

“My works are always images of images,” Khaisman wrote in an email to Business Insider. He sticks strips of the classic brown packing tape (and sometimes translucent coloured versions) to an acrylic lighted panel, and layers it to create a pixelated piece of pop art. He’s not afraid to remove a strip of tape if he doesn’t like how he’s placed it.

“The whole process is reminiscent to the darkroom photo development in the pre-digital era,” Khaisman said. “In a way, as my hands do the job, my mind is witnessing the appearance of the image.”

It takes him between a few days and a few weeks to complete a poster-sized piece. You can see his work currently on display at the Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

“I watch a lot of old movies,” Khaisman wrote, “They are pretty much merged into one movie in my head, from which I’m picking some random fragments out of the context of their origin.”

Old film inspires his work because of its strong play with light and shadow.

“I like the sense of confusion and uncertainty in the film noir genre,” Khaisman wrote. “The characters there are neither good or bad, they are victims of their situations.”

He started making portraits with tape after working with stained glass.

Working with translucent colour tape allows Khaisman to play more with the lighting and layering.

He calls his tape art “painting with light.”

Khaisman has a degree from the Moscow Architectural Institute in Russia.

“From one side, my images are constructed and calculated,” he wrote. “As I work, I constantly deal with managing scale, figuring out ratios, counting layers.”

In a new series of works, Khaisman represented the famous Birkin Bag in different colours.

PHe said he was interested in presenting a “precious object” with the “pedestrian material” of packing tape.

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