Yes, duct tape really can be used for everything. Even making art, as Todd Scott is set to show thousands of people at this month's Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival.
We know what you're thinking. How exactly does one become a professional duct tape sculptor? It's one thing to be a mere hobbyist. But getting paid to do it in nonadhesive-backed bills is almost unthinkable. Then we met Todd Scott.
"First you have to go to school for science — basically, biology and geography — and then get really, really bored," says Scott, a Canadian-based duct tape sculptor who has ripped and stuck his creations for the past six years while on Henkel Consumer Adhesives' payroll. "I'm one of those people who's basically extremely lucky and gets to play around and have fun and sort of make the best of most situations."
One of those situations was hearing a friend being lambasted by his wife for not buying her a Valentine's Day gift. Scott grabbed a role of duct tape and quickly fashioned a rose that served as a get-out-of-the-doghouse-free card for his buddy.
"Then it became a running joke to see what I couldn't make out of tape," says Scott.
As far as we can tell, he's still looking for the subject that'll stop him cold. His duct tape gallery thus far includes a life-size Babe Ruth, a 10-foot-tall elephant, an 18-foot Viking ship, a bearskin rug, a mounted buffalo head and gardens upon gardens of duct tape flowers. In short, he's always creating. Consequently, he's burned through acres of adhesives during the past eight years.
"I think my consumption rate for 2001 was 45 kilometers of duct tape," says Scott. "Right now I think I've got about 250 rolls, but I can go through pretty much most of that in about three weeks depending on what projects I'm working on."
Then, from time to time, his employer will call in with a request, like the time Henkel asked Scott to create an American flag the size of an NBA basketball court in New York City's Union Square during the summer of 2002. Other times, duct tape fans shoot him e-mails asking for his expertise while planning their own tape creations.
Those who want to give duct tape sculpting a shot can do so at this month's Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival, held June 17 through 19 at Veterans Memorial Park (37001 Detroit Road).
"People will get a chance to come into the workshop area and experiment," says Scott. "And you will see some people come up with some pretty crazy ideas. You name it. Someone will probably make a kitchen sink while I'm there."
And his personal appearances on the larger-than-you'd-expect duct tape circuit have showed him that if you're one of the few people in the world to do something —like, say, sculpt huge creations out of duct tape — you start to generate a fan base.
"There are a lot of crazies out there with duct tape," Scott says. "The duct tape festival is kind of neat that way. It's a Mecca for duct tape enthusiasts. And last year, I'd be sitting there talking to people and someone would come up and say, 'I have to shake your hand,' because of something I'd done. ... It was hilarious to watch."
But with fame and fortune ("I bought a house because of duct tape," Scott quips), what is there left for a successful duct tape sculptor to dream about?
"I still want to make the Wright Brothers plane out of duct tape," Scott says. "I just need to find enough space in the garage. ... Then, I'd like to put a couple wheels on it and pull it down the highway with a truck and see if I can get it off the ground."
For more information, visit www.avonducttapefestival.com.