St. Paul, Minn., based artist Lance Delao uses duct tape and Sharpies markers to make large-scape portraits and sketches. Part of his inspiration for these pieces is in those materials many make a part of their routine, but rarely think twice about. For Delao, products can be a form of art. “I was just walking around a store one day and the thought popped in my mind to utilize all the different colors they had in duct tape,” he explains. “A variety of colors usually catches my eye and that’s when the ideas start to flow on how I can use the materials to create something.”
Delao doesn’t like blank walls, which inspires him to make wall art with colorful duct tape. The piece that was nominated in The Craftys, “Lichtenstein Eyes,” was inspired by a series of painting Delao worked on about 10 year ago, highlighting the eyes and lips from iconic works. “Some of the stuff I was doing back before I knew much about art I was in similar styles to Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, with no prior knowledge of the work they did 30 to 40 years earlier. In a sense I feel a deep connection to them” For Delao, pop art great Lichtenstein is a kindred spirit. “I say this all the time but I feel it’s true: Before I even knew of Roy I had a love for his work.”
His appreciation for Sharpies extends from their unforgiving nature. “I’ve always had to just work with what I have and make the best of it,’ says Delao “Not to mention, we all know if you make one mistake with a Sharpie on white paper the whole project is ruined. For some reason I’ve always work best when I’m kept on my toes. So that thought of something trying to stop me makes me try harder. For that reason, I use Sharpies to show people you can do anything if you work with what you have.”
Using materials like duct tape and Sharpies also comments on the place products have in our culture. “All of my life I’ve been told things were too expensive and to make the best with what I had. Out of that desperation and necessity came much creativity. I also think it’s the nostalgia of products we’ve used our whole life. These things we spend our hard-earned money to purchase and bring home to our families, it’s almost as if these products are an extension of our family as well.”
Making a duct tape work like Lichtenstein Eyes takes about three to four days, depending on the size of the finished piece.
The Duct Tape category of The Craftys is sponsored by Duck Tape.