Tell us about TAPE OVER. Where did the original idea come from?
LaMia started tape art when she was studying communication design at the Institute of Design in Berlin. One of her classes was by Adam Lewin and he was asking his students to discover a new art form by trying it out. LaMia bought a box of tape and started her very first project called Berlin Super Land. She taped a Super Mario-like scenery, like in the video game, right on the streets of Berlin.
LaMia was inspired by the work of BUFF DISS, one of the first tape artists, an Australian who was living in Berlin at the time.
This is when I (ROB) met her too. I really liked what she was doing so I joined her! A few months later we founded TAPE OVER. It has been more than 6 years and TAPE OVER is now the biggest tape art crew worldwide, with 8 tape artists in total.
Tape art itself has its origin in the graffiti scene during the eighties and nineties. Graffiti artists used duct tape to create very sharp lines in their work. They would tape 2 lines, fill out the open space and then take the tape off again. At some point one guy decided to use those tapelines and that was the very beginning of tape art.
It’s still a very new art form, something between street art and urban art.
What kinds of works do you produce?
All kind of artworks which can be divided into 3 categories:
This is all the stuff we create because we want to express ourselves. It’s very versatile – like we are.
We experiment a lot with tape in combination with other materials. These artworks we do because we think tape art is a real art form! And we already had exhibitions and also sold our own creations to art collectors.
These are artworks for companies, brands, events and promotions. It is a mixture of art and design, because we are creating concepts based on an idea or goal. It has a lot to do with creative brand communication. For us, this is fun, because we can combine our professional background (LaMia has a diploma in communication design and art direction and I have a diploma in entrepreneurship marketing) with our artistic side. It is conceptual work as well as real tape art.
This is actually our most favourite part because we love to work with different people, different materials and different styles. The outcome is always something new, which you couldn’t do alone and which wasn’t there before. To create something very new, that no one has done before is a great thing and always surprising.
The best example is tape mapping – a combination of tape art and video mapping. This was an outcome of an experiment with Jacques Andre Dupont. We’ve been working together for years now and we are very good friends.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Nature – abstract things from natural patterns or simply taping a subject
Magazines & books – creating collages or moodboards
Instagram – inspiration from other artists or great pics
Abandoned places – getting inspired by the location as well as the atmosphere
Micro view/perspective – finding new patterns and structures, which are not visible to the naked eye
Abstract – we like to abstract things or breaking down complex things by using tape. Tape is an abstract working material – its limitation inspires our creations
Pictorial – we also like to tape pictorial subjects, mainly animals
Can you tell us about the current art scene and creative industries in Berlin?
Berlin is a multicultural melting point where a lot of artistic things go on. The art scene is influenced a lot by the music scene – which is electronic music in Berlin, of course. And there is a strong design scene, because of all the start-ups in Berlin. Plus, there is still a huge street art scene, because Berlin is a city where you have a lot of freedom.
Berlin is actually the capital of tape art. The main reason is Klebeland – a special tape store, where you can get any tape in any size. It’s pretty much customised tape.
The owner of Klebeland (his name is Mo…his street-name is KOL) used to be a sprayer, back in the days. He was supporting tape art from the very first moment when he started it´s shop, which is now about 10 years ago. He was giving tape to tape artists for free to support their work. He delivered LaMia’s first box of tape to her home personally & for free.
Generally, the art in Berlin is often focussing on sexuality or it is very abstract.
We do pictorial stuff as well as abstract pieces. Actually, we love to combine organic forms and shapes, and abstract patterns.
How does the city influence your works?
Berlin is inspiring – it is a big city, has a lot of green areas, suburbs and abandoned places. You meet a lot of interesting people. Our art is a part of the city, we try to give something back.
The character of the city in general reminds me of tape. Very structured and graphic like a map, straight lines like streets and sharp edges like living on the edge. Like life in this city feels sometimes.
You’ve worked with brands like adidas, Hermes, asos and Warner Brothers. How do these types of commercial opportunities come about?
They contact us because the have seen our stuff at festivals or on the internet. We never did acquisition or anything like that. Recommendations are also an important factor. Plus, you can still see our stuff in the most vibrant clubs in Berlin and because everyone in Berlin is going out at some point – people see our work. Additionally, brands and agencies like our professional approach and the way we work, that’s because of our background I mentioned earlier.
How do you approach a new client brief?
We try to get some inspiration from our client, but only on a high level, because the more freedom we get that better the outcome will be.
If we’re given a proper client brief or concept, we break it down to the bottom line. Then we start our creative process – research, brainstorming, exchanging ideas, and moodboards.
Once we have a story to tell or have a picture in mind for how to visualise the client’s brief, we start sketching.
Once we have finished our sketches, we put everything together in a concept which shows the whole process. So that the client understands our vision and our intentions.
How important do you think it is to have a strong digital presence?
A strong digital presence is a must!
Do you ever book work through social media?
Yes, we get in touch with other artists and we get booked ourselves through social media.
What have been the top 3 projects you’ve ever worked on?
A collaboration with ONDE, tape mapping project ‘DEEP SEAS‘ in Davos, Switzerland.
A collaboration with FALK LAND, tape art installation & urban art ‘BEAUTIFIC BREAK‘ in Graz, Austria.
Have you got anything exciting coming up?
Actually, we just came back from Madrid, where we worked on a project with adidas.
In November we are going to London for a week to create a tape art store design and we’re doing 2 live tape art performances.
In spring next year we will do a very unconventional and artistic project with the University of Tübingen, where we will create a tape art design for the world’s biggest exhibition regarding the “history of mankind”.