Today, however, the remaining cassettes are not really usable, and their availability is an ecological nightmare. Erica Iris Simmons has found a special and every relevant way to use them.
Aviv Geffen portrait. Back to the cassette era
The American artist has adopted the audiotapes and their ribbons as raw materials for her works. She uses them to create portraits which are naturally connected to the world of music: Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and many others, including the Aviv Geffen portrait she created at Ynet's request.
Simmons, who lives and works in Atlanta, told Ynet about the environmental message behind her creations.
"I do hope that people see the environmental message in my work, that almost anything can be recycled. I also want to inspire artists who perhaps don't have a lot of money to think outside the box and use what they have available. It's not important what materials you use, but your thought and intention is what makes something special."
John Lennon in Erica Iris Simmons' work
Why use cassette ribbons?
"I came up with the idea while I was going through a creative phase. I had been inspired by the amazing work of Ken Knowlton and Vik Muniz, who make portraits out of crazy materials. At the time I didn't have extra money to spend on art supplies, so I went around the house looking for anything I could tear up and glue down.
"Eventually, I thought to try the cassettes. When I pulled out the ribbon it reminded me of Jimi Hendrix's hair, so that was the first one I made."
Addressing the creation process, Simmons says: "Every project is different, but I always start with a general sketch. Sometimes I draw it out in detail, sometimes I leave much of it to my imagination as I go.
"The cassette tape can be used in so many different ways, so sometimes it's nice to just let it go crazy. But I usually spend about two or three weeks on a big project. It's very tedious."