Chance Foreman doesn’t bother with gouache, watercolors, oil or acrylics when he’s making a piece of art.
Foreman’s medium is duct tape.
The 24-year-old University of North Texas graduate said he became a duct tape artist on a whim.
“I was at Texas A&M [University] at Commerce for a while before I came to UNT,” Foreman said. “I was working on an art project. I’m not really very patient. I didn’t have any painting supplies and I didn’t feel like going to buy any, either. So I just used duct tape.”
Foreman didn’t study art while studying in Denton or Commerce. He said he’s always had a creative bent, and has always made art.
Foreman said he still uses the same technique today as when he started.
“When I go back and look at the picture I made, it’s a basic paint-by-number sort of thing. I tore small pieces of tape off of the roll and put it on the surface. I kept adding these tiny pieces until I’d made an image. I think I just called it Old Man,” he said.
The Denton tape artist just finished a special work for Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocates, a private nonprofit organization of volunteers who serve as voices in court for abused and neglected children. Volunteers are trained to make recommendations that help judges decide what is best for each child.
The nonprofit asked Foreman to create a work of art for one of the playhouses in the 17th annual Parade of Playhouses, a fundraiser now on display at NorthPark Center in Dallas.
Foreman’s duct tape artwork of a chicken graces an urban chicken coop. The fundraiser also includes playhouses styled after a maritime lighthouse, an airplane hangar, and a baseball dugout decorated with donated memorabilia from the Texas Rangers. Mall visitors are invited to buy raffle tickets for a chance at winning one of the playhouses.
Foreman said he’s kept using the duct tape because he enjoys its versatility.
“A lot of people think my art is painted with acrylics. Sometimes they think it’s acrylic until I tell them it’s duct tape,” he said.
He uses traditional silver duct tape as well as the colored tape now available. He also uses gaffer’s tape, a tough tape used to fix heavy gear — most often on television and film sets. (Foreman’s degree is in radio, television and film.)
Foreman said tape can be layered and shaped until it suggests the texture of oil paint that has been piled up on a canvas with a palette knife. He uses Masonite panels as the surface for his art.
“After I made that first piece, my grandmother encouraged me to keep making art with tape. She asked me to make her a [portrait of] JFK,” he said.
He obliged, using gray, black and white duct tape.
Foreman was commissioned to create a large mural for the opening celebration for Dallas’ $182 million Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, a high, shining white arch with white cables bridging the Trinity River.
“I like bright colors,” Foreman said. His mural depicts a bright blue sky, a shocking pink Dallas skyline, bright yellow stars and hints of children playing, a hot air balloon drifting skyward and the banks of the Trinity busy with life.
“When I did the bridge art, they commissioned a mural that was 16 feet wide and 8 feet tall. During that time, I realized the project was going to need a lot of tape. That’s when I contacted Duck Tape and they sponsored me.”
Foreman also got a commission to make artwork for Walmart. The project will put a piece in two stores.
The tape manufacturer’s sponsorship allowed him to go to the Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival in Avon, Ohio.
“It ended up being a smaller festival than I thought, but it was a good experience,” Foreman said. “I set up a tent and then sat there making an art piece for three days.
“It was really cool to see the clothes the designers made out of tape. They looked amazing. There were gowns. There was a whole prom category. They looked pretty good.”
Foreman said he considers his art as pop art images made with tiny pieces of tape instead of prints or paintings. He deals with single subjects — a chicken, a banana, the face of a rock ’n’ roll legend.
“I like the texture it gives. The duct tape is always shiny, and the gaff tape is matte. With just those two materials, I can do a lot of things,” Foreman said.
The artist doesn’t consider his medium a gimmick or a dip into artistic novelty.
“When Duck Tape paid me to do this, I told them that this isn’t some random thing I was experimenting with,” he said. “I try to make my work as intricate as possible. I do this seriously.”
LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.