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Mark Jenkins has been tape casting since he was a child and would make casts of his pencils in class.
“It was a neat trick I’d figured out that my teacher didn’t appreciate,” he says. “She encouraged me instead to explore my creativity with crayons and pencils.”
Over time, Jenkins’ sculptures have evolved as he has explored the possibilities that the media provides.
“I’ve done a lot of experimenting - casting different objects, adding lights, coating the sculptures with resins, and more recently adding clothes to the figures,” he said. “I’m kind of hoping that I can push packing tape upwards to join the ranks of other popular sculpting mediums such as papier mache, bronze and Legos.”
Today, Jenkins’ work can be found on the streets of New York City, Baltimore and throughout the world. He has been formally exhibiting his work overseas, and when there’s time, he displays work in cities he travels to. Once the pieces are placed, a variety of things can happen to them. Some get “adopted” by passersby; others are picked up by city workers. Either way, they get a reaction from the people who see them.
“People are quick to come up and ask what I’m up to,” Jenkins says. “They want to know what the works are made of and how many rolls of tape it takes to make a tape man.”
He has created dozens of pieces, among them about 60 tape men, a few women, 100 babies, a few ducks, giraffes, horses, dogs, pigeons, and a couple of cattle skulls.
Jenkins says his animal sculptures work as a sort of “visually compelling litter” - a personal statement against those who would leave trash on the hiking trails he frequents. A self-described environmentalist, Jenkins thinks his art gives plastic litter a new sort of aesthetic. “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” he says.
A tape casting tutorial is located at tapesculpture.org/index.html.
Mark Jenkins’ website is www.xmarkjenkinsx.com.