Taping it To The Next Level



An artist finds a medium that sticks.

Creativity isn’t dependent on the materials you use, but sometimes they’re pivotal in inspiring you to do more. Artists often use higher quality media (better paint pigments, finer pens or pencils, etc.) to encourage better quality work. But in the end, it’s all about finding what suits your expression best. I remember choosing cheaper, school-grade watercolors for example, because I was freer to use them up without fearing cost, and my paintings were much looser and more dynamic. Sun K. Kwak, on the other hand, likes drawing with masking tape.

Taping 1

A Korean-born, New York-based artist, Kwak started out as a painter but was unhappy with the more traditional media at her disposal. For years she couldn’t find one that fit her needs. She had a light bulb moment one morning and thought about using masking tape. Less than a day later, after creating her first work with it, she found that her new medium…well, stuck nicely.

Taping 2
Taping 3

Her latest installation at the Brooklyn Museum, Enfolding 280 Hours, opened this past March. Kwak’s monochromatic applications wrap around the walls of the entire 5th floor in what she described as three dimensional drawing, lending dynamic motion and energy to the space. It’s both very flat and fixed, yet perceptually moves around you with surprising depth. The effect is like entering a woodcut or a giant calligraphic rendering, and how her work alters your perception of a space can vary from person to person, which for Kwak is the desired effect. It’s the kind of artwork I find particularly inspiring because it makes use of things we can take for granted – in this case, the walls that surround us, and very common tape – and creates a brand new experience.

As always, I like to find a way to take an experience like that home to daily life. Everyday, I see piles of plain brown cardboard boxes in my building, dropped off by the delivery men. While wrapping delivery packages in masking tape swirls may not be something everyone would want to do, you can make your package look a little less ordinary with the simple application of decorative tape. Kate’s Paperie has a whole selection of decorative packaging tape by Tapeswell, pre-designed so all you have to do is cut, wrap and stick to make the recipient’s delivery experience more of an event. If you like Sun K. Kwak’s monochromatic approach, the baroque, coffee stain and faux bois patterns add subtler texture to a cardboard box.

Taping 4

For more on Sun K. Kwak and her work, check out this article on ArtInfo.com.

If you have any questions, comments or other feedback about The Tear Sheet, be sure to let us know by emailing us at thetearsheet@katespaperie.com.

George G., Creative Director At Large, is a New York-based art director whose work spans everything from store display to interactive media. Also an accomplished artist, his illustrations have been published and exhibited in various galleries in New York. Being a self-professed design junkie, he is constantly on the lookout for what’s new and fresh in the worlds of art and design.

Share on Facebook Share Share on Twitter Share