Tony Dennis aka Tape Deck Art is a self-taught British contemporary artist with a passion for music and design, who creates and hand-paints giant 3D pin badges.
A favourite with many of our music-loving customers, Tape Deck Art is releasing an exclusive new 'The Who' badge with Enter Gallery available to buy from 9am on Sunday 13th December. We caught up with Tony ahead of the new release...
Where did the name Tape Deck art come from?
I didn’t want to use my real name, so I took the first two initials from my name and came up with Tape Deck Art. I also wanted my artist name to have a reference to music and Tape Deck Heart is an album by Frank Turner which is a favourite of mine.
I wanted to design and paint a piece of artwork that was eye catching, tactile, fun and something that no one has attempted to do. At the same time, I was collecting vintage punk badges from the mid to late 1970’s. I put the two together and came up with the idea of painting and forming Giant 3D pin badges from designs I already had in my collection.
When did you first start making the giant badges?
In 2016 I came up with the idea and in the early part of 2017 I painted my first badge.
How did you learn to create the badges and how long did you have to experiment before you perfected your technique?
It took me 9 months of research and fabricating countless prototypes to come up with the design. The hardest part was perfecting the resin process that is poured over each badge. Resin can be very temperamental.
You are obviously a big music fan. Are you inspired by any other visual artists?
I love the graphical side to art and I’m a fan of works by Mel Bochner and Robert Indiana.
Which was the first badge you ever made?
Sex Pistols, God Save the Queen design was my first ever badge I painted. At the time, I had just purchased an example of this badge from eBay and have never looked back.
You also used to create art from gig ticket stubs and create commissions to commemorate the event. Why do you think as humans we start collections? What do you think is the appeal of collecting?
Nostalgia was always a big part of my collecting. I think, for most people, collecting is a form of escapism from the stresses of every day life and also pride of ownership.
Do any of the musicians have some of your badges for themselves?
I’ve sold a few badges to musicians but wouldn’t like to say who.
In 2018 you worked with graffiti artist invader using his designs as opposed to musical themed badges. Would you do another artist collaboration like this again?
Yes, without doubt I would love for another collaboration like this. In early 2021, I’m working with another artist in a collaboration, which I’m really excited about. Watch this space!
You recently released 20 giant badges with The Prodigy which sold out in 4 minutes? How did the collaboration with them come about?
Maxim from The Prodigy purchased a Specials badge from me through Enter Gallery in the summer and asked if I would like to do a collaboration with the Prodigy. Enter Gallery were a massive help in putting the two of us together.
Which other musicians/bands would you like to create?
I’m interested in all music and would like to work with hundreds of different musicians/bands and will definitely be looking into working with others in the near future.
Have you done any unusual commissions for people?
Yes, I produced a badge commission for someone this summer, the content had pretty colourful’ language and I didn't think it would be appropriate to share this over social media. Shame really as it was a great badge design.
Are there any other mediums you want to try or do you feel you have found your niche with the badges?
I have sold other artwork using cassette tapes and their inlays over the past 12 months. It’s nice to step back from giant badges for a few weeks to recharge my batteries. Mainly all my efforts go into researching and painting new badge designs. I’m looking to upscale my badges from 60cm to 80cm in diameter in 2021.
What would you like to happen for yourself as an artist in 2021? Any shows/events in the pipeline?
I’ve already got a couple of collaborations in the bag for 2021. I’ve also been approached to do a show next year just waiting to finalise the dates. I just want to keep creating music related art pieces, one track at a time!
The Who by Tapedeck art is now available exclusively with Enter Gallery.
There will also be one AP available of the now sold out The Prodigy badge at 9am on Sunday 13th December. Sign up for a release reminder.