University of Iowa Honors Theses

Major Department

Art, Studio


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Fall 2016

Honors Major Advisor

Thesis Mentor


For this project I used tape as both an artistic process and as a tool to answer the following questions: what effects can be achieved with thicker tape? What effect does a clean line versus a messy line have on the quality of the painting? What material works best to create space in interesting ways? In order to answer these questions and more, I created this multi-step plan to explore this method.

I was originally going to make four 12”x12” paintings for each tape type, masking, scotch, and duct, but as my project evolved I decided to cut it down to three of each. I also limited myself to a specific number of layers to tape onto the canvas, this being three, six, and nine layers. I created these limitations in order to test each material separately and explore the number of paint layers each can withstand. After testing each material on the small paintings, I ended my project with three large ones. I planned on making a painting for each tape type but instead my final paintings became an exploration of what can be achieved by utilizing multiple or all three varieties together. For these final paintings I used both masking and duct tape to play with the relationships between line size, space, and color.

What I discovered with this experiment is that each tape creates a different line quality. Scotch tape is the least successful of the materials; it does not hold a clean line well. The duct tape was interesting; it holds a clean line, so clean that when lines are placed next to each other paint pools and creates a physical surface. The masking tape was my favorite among the materials, largely because the wide range of available sizes makes for more varied line qualities, and smaller areas for paint accretion. The masking tape worked best when creating space and texture, and when working on a large scale the masking tape and the duct tape together made for the most interesting compositions. While this was a tiresome experiment (I gave myself a lot of paintings to make), it was useful in that it helped me add variation to this method of painting. I discovered the types of tape that can withstand multiple layers without tearing paint off the canvas, and which line qualities I prefer. Qualities that I can bring with me when I use tape in the future to create these abstract spaces that lead the eye in interesting ways, and creates stimulating interplays among line, color, and space.


Art, Painting, Studio Art, Tape, Masking, Process, Acrylic

Total Pages

1 page


Copyright © 2016 Megan Farlow

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Painting Commons