Meet the amazing cassette tape artist Erika Iris Simmons. She makes beautiful art portraying people like Trent Reznor, Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Marley, John Lennon and The Beatles these are just to name a few while the list keeps growing!
- Erika Iris has always been fascinated with the idea to make something out of nothing, which is the leading thought that gave birth to her idea to go out and make art from cassette tapes which she originally had kept in her own personal basement!
- So far she’s made beautiful art portraying people like Trent Reznor, Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Marley, John Lennon, The Beatles, Miles Davis and these are just to name a few while the list keeps growing!
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO
By Mihail Bonev
Erika Iris has always been fascinated with the idea of “Making something out of nothing”, making something out of things that people would generally just throw into a dumpster.
For her, cassette tapes are somewhat of a relic as she considers them a form of memory time capsules, pointing out that there’s just something special revolving a cassette tape containing a mixtape with music from different albums by one of your favorite musicians.
Naturally, cassette tape were the thing on which she ingeniously innovated upon with that idea as she personally had her basement full of cassette tapes which instead of just throwing out, she made them the focal point of her art as part of her innovation.
While she never really intended of reaching such heights of popularity initially, one of her pieces on which she portrayed Jimmy Hendrix was held in such high regards, her work eventually saw publication in magazines which led to even bigger gigs like the Grammy’s and as of today, she’s working with people from around the globe, continuously making new art, including new faces as part of her artistic palette and has even started innovating on some artistic techniques herself, all thanks to her ever growing artistic experience and proficiency!
Her office is a tidy working room composed of drawing benches and storage lockers in which she keeps her artistic utensils, as well as the huge volume of cassette tapes which are paramount to her work! Even though she has donated thousands of cassette tape and even pieces of her art, she’s in constant need of new tapes as the tapes themselves have different colors, ranging from black to red and with colors like dark and light brown in-between.
Her favorite tape color is black, especially when the color is in accord with the hue of the artist, the best example being the portrait of Trent Reznor which she made for herself, as she not only loves Nine Inch Nails but using black tapes also gives the perfect hue!
While the true genius of her work is without a doubt her ingenious approach to it, Erika definitely has the technical and artistic finesse to back it up and make it a reality.
When working on her art, she begins the process by hand drawing the piece as a blueprint for orientation, then tapes down cassette tape on the whole thing and finishes off with just cutting out everything that’s not in alignment with the drawing, making the details in her final product nothing short of perfect. After all of that, she goes over it with 3D details to give it the final artist’s spark with the life the textures give her contemporary portraits, essentially finalizing them with her artistic signature which gives her art such high value.
While quite laid back as a person, she works on her art with great passion and uncanny methodology, easily proven with the fact that when finalizing her art, she pays really close attention when properly uniting the actual cassette with the image, giving the whole artistic process a much smoother transition and effectively letting people know that the art, however deceivingly beautiful it may be, it is ultimately made out of simple cassette tape.
Her approach in unifying her personal passion with a thorough working methodology when making her art is nothing short of ingenious, and that’s why Travis Hoefle went out and personally interviewed Erika Iris in order to provide proper exposure to one of the best contemporary artists in the present day!
After having worked on some larger projects (her prime example being a large image of Miles Davis, a project that took a few weeks to complete), she became even more fascinated by the idea that working with random materials, if chosen and put correctly, you can make people see faces that are ultimately nothing more than an artistic jigsaw puzzle.
As of now, due to her experience and artistic prowess, she’s even started to innovate on new ideas and has came up with new techniques with which to expand on her artistic style, the most prominent one being the use of properly broken vinyl records which when put together, give an even better texture to the image (especially when properly lightened!).
Even though her new style is a little harder to pull off, she has no intention of stopping as “seeing the final product fit together like a jigsaw puzzle” is a victory in her book.
Watch the video below, and be sure to subscribe to Wizard of Odd TV!