These remarkable portraits of iconic rock stars have become a smash hit with the iPod generation – made entirely from obsolete cassette tapes.
Talented Erika Iris Simmons, 26, has made 45 life-like images of musical superstars so far including Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles.
Every 16x20in portrait in her ‘Ghost in the Machine’ series uses 440ft of ribbon from a single 90 minute cassette tape and takes Erika up to three weeks to put together.
She uses clear glue, scissors, craft knives and drafting paper to carefully manipulate the unwound tapes into beautifully rendered portraits of stars while leaving it attached to the cassette.
And her £1,190 portraits of legends such as Van Morrison, Robert Smith from the Cure and even the Clash’s London Calling album cover have already sold out around the world.
The self-taught artist uses the almost obsolete form of audio equipment to conjure the spirits of famous icons.
She first tested the medium after noticing that the coiled tape inside cassettes resembled Jimi Hendrix’s afro.
Erika, who creates art using the name Iri5, has created a whole series of images of the stars using the unique methods she learnt while training as a make-up artist.
She said: ”I came up with the idea after seeing the work of great artists like Ken Knowlton and Vik Muniz, who make wonderful portraits out of crazy materials.
”At the time I was waiting tables and didn’t have a lot of money to spend on art supplies, so I went around my house digging through junk drawers, tearing up whatever wouldn’t be missed by anyone.
”One day I pulled the ribbon out of a cassette and it reminded me of Jimi Hendrix’s hair and that was the first one.
”The materials are really simple, its mostly just the willingness to sit there for an eternity.
”Since then I’ve done over 45 cassette tape portraits and it’s been a really exciting medium.”
Erika, from Atlanta, Georgia, uses discarded and recycled materials to create her works and relies on donations of old tapes to make her masterpieces.
Pictures from the series which sell for around £1,190