The Art of Cellotape (Cellophane tape)

December 19, 2008 at 8:51 pm Leave a comment

Among my collection of stationery goodies, I never seem to run out of cellophane tape. I use it to wrap presents, stick paper to the wall and occasionally hem long-legged jeans (though staplers work better). Other than that, there are always at least two rolls sitting in my desk, hoping to see the light of day.

So let’s say you’re a manufacturer of adhesive goods. In woeful times, how do you stir up demand for your unsung product? How about by giving a crazed artist access to all the gumminess he needs?


That’s what tape manufacturer Nichiban decided to do when artist Ryo Sehata asked for bulk amounts of what Japanese people call cellotape (cellophane tape). In return, Mr. Sehata has been plugging them all over the place, most recently penning an essay for the national newspaper Nihon Keizai News about his obsession.

So just how crazed is he? For his prized work, titled “Rolling Sculpture.20” he used a whopping 4,000 rolls of tape. Each roll is about $1.40; you do the math:


And unlike a baseball, he didn’t use a rubber core to anchor the thing down. It’s 100% tape that he wrapped from a tiny ball – sore fingers are a problem, he says. Though the sculpture weighs over 200 pounds, so I can’t imagine worrying about it rolling away.

This is my personal favorite:


Once a struggling artist, Mr. Sehata has gone on to open exhibits across the country. It took him a while to feel confident sculpting something most people use to lift cat hairs with. But once his art took off, he was happy to find a company that would supply him with enough tape to work his magic. It’s a partnership that’ll stick for a lifetime if you ask me.


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December 2008


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