The power of music is undeniable. Every single one of us has wonderful memories tied to the bands and albums that shaped us, and that’s why we’re delighted to announce that Tape Deck Art's new Badge Set Series is now available exclusively at Enter Gallery.
This exciting new series of four limited edition artworks are the perfect mementos from the most special moments of our lives.
In today’s blog, we’re chatting to Tony Dennis aka Tape Deck to discover more about the new series and the intricate steps that go into hand-crafting each of his artworks.
The Badge Set Series
Fun and wonderfully nostalgic, in this new series, Tony recreates the type of four-badge packs particularly popular in the 80s and 90s.
Tony tells us: “These badge sets packs are about celebrating different genres of music. Whether you’re into punk or pop, there’s a pack for all.”
Included in the series are four different mixed media pieces, each immortalising key bands and artists from the genres of hip hop, 80s Pop, Punk and Post-Punk.
Given his selection of genres, we were keen to know which is his personal favourite:
“God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols was the first badge that I made, but really, I was a bit too young for punk. I’m more of a post-punk and indie boy. I’m a fan of The Smiths, The Cure, Bauhaus and so on.”
It was back in 2016 that Tony first had the idea to turn his collection of vintage badges into eye-catching, tactile 3D works of art. Entirely self-taught, it took him nine months of research and fabricating countless prototypes before he nailed the medium and painted his first badge.
Seven years later, and he’s still going strong, and the likes of Noel Gallagher, Paddy Considine, Maxim from The Prodigy and Taron Egerton have all bought his work.
Because of how crisp and authentic Tony's badges are, many people don’t realise that he actually hand-paints every single piece. We wanted to understand more about the process and how these giant pin badges are brought to life. Tony tells us:
“I take a 25mm badge and scale it up. The first piece I create for any design is my giant badge size, which is 60cm in diameter. The bigger the designs are, the easier they are to paint.
First, I plot the image, then I paint the design, turn it into a stencil and then build the design layer-by-layer depending on how many colours the piece has. The process is completed with a layer of epoxy resin to give depth and a gloss finish to each badge. ”
With so many incredible designs, and the inclusion of multiple images for different artists, such as David Bowie, the Sex Pistols and Madness, we were curious as to where all of the artwork for the badges is sourced from. Is it from his personal collection, or is he forced to look elsewhere?
“To start with the badge designs were all from my collection or from album and single covers. If I couldn’t find a decent badge for a band, I’d look to adverts from vintage editions of NME and Melody Maker. I’m in good company here, as these ads are exactly where the original makers of the badges would source their artwork back in the day.”
Having attracted international acclaim, more people started seeing his art, and this led to serious badge collectors approaching him to let him know that they are on hand should he wish to reference their badge collections.
One such instance happened at his first solo exhibition, ‘Never Mind the Badges’, back in June 2021 in Chester.
“A guy came along from the Facebook group, The Old Punkrock-badges Fanatics. He told me that if I ever needed an image, he has thousands and thousands of badges, so now, when I’m thinking about a piece, I’ll often email him to see if he has an original and he’ll send me a lot of photos.”
“These badges are so collectible now, especially for the really obscure ones of the Sex Pistols and The Damned. Some of them are going for two or three hundred a piece, and I’ve seen one 40mm badge go for $500. There’s a massive market now for collectors, and yet, three or four years ago on E-bay, you used to be able to pick up the same designs for a fiver each.”
Tape Deck’s Badge Pack series is available at Enter Gallery now. Explore the collection here.