It's Leah and Michael and we are the current Tape Art duo traveling around the USA and the world to make BIG art.
We are also dance partners who do video, installation, and sculpture projects when we are not pressing tape against walls.
Leah lifts weights and has all the muscles. She loves Asian action movies. Michael is a champion at long cross-country driving and loves chasing records in endurance video gaming.
Photo: Walther Le Kon
When did Tape Art even start?
Tape Art Emerges
Our first Tape Art drawing was made in the early hours of the morning on September 16th, 1989 in Providence, Rhode Island. The list to the right is an archive of the first month of Tape Art drawings of which there are virtually no photographs. In the next 5 years we went from being unknown street artists to getting our first paid murals, our first national press, the beginning of us teaching workshops, and our first grants. In 1992 we were introduced to our first roll of low adhesive blue tape. A tape that would change our lives. A tape that was the color of angel's tears.
The Pioneer Years
Firetrucks, national tours, and 52,000 square foot tape drawings were the result of a half decade spent trying to find the medium's limits. In '95 we traveled 29,000 miles in six months creating work in 40 US states. That tour opened our eyes to the impact Tape Art could have in any social setting, from large public art to teaching in schools to working with patients in psychiatric facilities and hospitals.
The Tapeless Years
The company producing the perfect tape for drawing (R.I.P. CP-26) decided to stop making it. Just like that. We dedicated the next two YEARS to testing and researching new tapes from around the world to find a replacement. In the summer of 2001 a new green tape from the rolling hills of Tennessee made Tape Art possible again.
The Hope Project
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 took the lead on the Tape Art experiment for a few years and continued to push the boundaries of Tape Art, including hundreds and hundreds of tape drawings made weekly at our local children's hospital. We ended our time together with the creation of an epic stop stop animation project.
Museums and GE
This half decade we got fancy. We saw an increase in interest from museums commissioning us to make big murals. We also ran hundreds of corporate leadership workshops exploring the mechanics of group collaboration. It is wild to watch groups of 50 to 100+ business executives go through the emotional journey of having to make art together.
Even after 30 years we were still pushing forward the mission of spreading Tape Art. Leah and Michael took Tape Art to Hong Kong, Japan, Greece, and Germany. In 2019, we spent 7 months on the road! Our studio cat basically forgot who we were.
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 slide projectors - the BOOM! Projector. We invented it. We prototyped it. We have been pushing hard to manufacture it. And 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 (1991-1995)
Rob Coggshell (1991-1995)
Erica Duthie (1992-####)*
Melissa Brown (1993-1995)
Deborah Abramson (1994-1998, 2008-2009)
Struan Ashby (1995-####)*
Nektaria Glinou (1997-2012)
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
We ♡ love ♡ love ♡ love talking about tape. We ♡ love brainstorming about art. We ♡ love connecting with people. We'll tell you our stories if you tell us yours. Hit us up!