Tape Classified at Art Center

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday March 6, 2014

When Brian Rea’s most recent Art Center class mural project came through on my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, I contacted him about sharing it with DART subscribers. There couldn’t be a better time to post this than NY Armory Week – running to 68 feet in length, in terms of size it probably outclasses anything currently up in New York. This is what Brian wrote about the class and the project:

About the class: On the Fence, the mural project, gives students who straddle illustration/ design/ fine art an opportunity to explore large scale image making and installation both on and off the wall. Collaboration, context, story telling, art direction and project management are the key learning points. Alternative approaches to image making and materials are encouraged in the 14 week course. Three of the 4 projects during the semester are fully collaborative.

About the mural: "Tape Classified" is a salon style wall installation showcasing unusual and compelling Craigslist posts, individually interpreted by the students in sketch form. As a group, they selected the most compelling sketches and “built” a final sketch for the mural. The mural itself, which they created using black drafting tape, took less than a week to install.

For a student who has never worked quite this large (the wall is close to 70') it can be intimidating to begin painting something permanent. Using drafting tape allows for “errors,” recognizing any errors, and opens up discussions about how best to make improvements with quick adjustments, whereas using a permanent material would require that all these decisions be worked out during the sketch phase. The students can readily see shapes, scale, context and relationships as the work progresses to its final form. The tape provides a chance to learn these steps more efficiently.


Tape is also a very democratic tool. "Style" is forced out the window because the line is consistent and a system for the "drawing" is already in place. This places a greater emphasis on collaboration, each person's storytelling abilities, and what is possible with the materials, rather than depending on each student's individual style being brought together in a large single image.

A booklet documenting the mural is currently being produced and will include each Craigslist entry corresponding to each framed story. A website is being developed as a class project documenting the process and execution of the mural.

Artists: Addison Eaton, Sean Ghobad, Rudy Grazziani, Ariel Mar, Tyler Morrison, Jess Zhang, Tevy Khou, Kelsey Tahara.

Tape ClassifiedBrian Rea’s On The Fence Class Project 2, is installed in the 870 building, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. See the work in progress on Dotted Line, the Art Center blog. Photos: Brian Rea.

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