Max Zorn Crafts Brilliant Scenes From Packing Tape

Published December 8, 2014
Updated December 12, 2023

Most street artists accept that when night falls, their artwork will be obscured by darkness. But most street artists aren't Max Zorn.

Most street artists accept the fact that when night falls, their work will also fade into nothingness. Not so for Max Zorn. To keep his creations from disappearing under the veil of the Amsterdam night, Zorn invoked street lamps and a little ingenuity. Zorn incorporates semi-transparent packing tape into his work, so parts of the scene shine through when placed on or near a source of illumination.

Max Zorn Art

Reflections in fabulous Art Deco style.

“There’s a lot of great street art by day, but it disappears after dark. I wanted to come up with urban art that uses nighttime as a setting, and there was nothing more inviting than the street lamps in Amsterdam. In the beginning I used packing tape to fill in larger sections of my marker drawings. Once I hung them on street lamps, the light’s effect opened up new ideas with ditching markers and just using tape.”

Armed with glass panes, a scalpel, and packing tape, he starts with one layer of tape as a base, sculpting away where values need to be lightest, and repeats the process layer by layer, cutting away as he goes. All of the pieces require a light source, such as a window or a light-box to be viewed and appreciated at their full glory.

Woman In Street

The antique cars and fashions transport you back in time.

When Zorn masterminded his signature medium in 2011, he began making smaller, sticker-sized pieces, and sent them to friends around the globe so that they could bring beauty to the night of their own cities.

Max Zorn Smoking Pipe Street Art

Zorn excels at making shows and light play together successfully.

One of the added benefits of the tape’s color is that it gives the overall scene a sepia-like tone, which naturally lends itself to appearing like an aged photograph or even a negative. What’s more, since the pieces are made from packing tape, they’ll remain intact for much longer than an average painting.

Max Zorn’s scenes portray many different aspects of the life of a person living decades ago, from the pretty and posh to the downright nitty-gritty.

Packing Tape Art

You can almost hear the soft jazz music emanating from this portrait.

Art Made From Tape

From the posh to the seedy underbelly of the times.

Max Zorn Art

Life through the lens of an Old-Hollywood starlet.

Bar In The City

Max Zorn Man And Woman

You can really feel the love and tenderness here; Zorn has mastered depicting skin values with only tape.

Max Zorn Lilies

Proving you don’t need extreme detail in order to portray skill.

Max Zorn Artwork Bridge

City Corner

Train art Scene

A feat of perspective and architecture in this underground scene.

Max Zorn Golf

Max Zorn Shuttle

Sky Walks

The geometry in this piece is amazing. The skywalks lead your eye through the picture.

Max Zorn Tape Ships

Norman Rockwell meets cubism in this interesting piece of storytelling.

City Horizons

Contrast is an important key in most art, and Zorn uses it to his fullest advantage here. The city literally pops out against the brightness of the sky.

You can purchase some of these pieces on his website, where he also has more of his work on display.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.