Micah Garcia, aka The Stuck Duck.
(all photos courtesy of Micah’s instagram)
Comic book art with duct tape. No, seriously! I did a double take when I heard the youngest son of Micah say those words as I passed their booth. It’s a long story, but I love duct tape for it’s comedic value. Combine that with a format I have never seen before, and I just had to learn more. Micah Garcia, the creative force behind this art form invited me behind his table, to sit and talk while his son played the role of salesman with endless zeal.
Micah is from Chandler, where he works as a P.E. Teacher, and with the youth programs of his local church. He also loves duct tape, and creating art with it. Looking around his humble booth, I was surrounded by Spiderman, Batman, Star Wars, just about everything a nerd could love. So I asked him how he got started. He has always loved comics and went to several conventions. He always wanted to do art “but my brain and my hands don’t necessarily work together the way…like a normal artist rendering their stuff”.
That all changed last year at Phoenix Comicon, where he met Bucky-D, another duct tape artist. Micah said he later went home, bought some cheap duct tape, and razor blades, and began working on his first piece (Spiderman – who is incidentally his favorite). Eventually he made a piece for his wife’s office. That caught the eyes of her co-workers. He then started posting pictures of his various works in progress on Instagram. That online exposure led to his ‘discovery’ by a UK web designer who featured Micah’s work on his website.
This year’s Amazing Arizona Comicon is Micah’s first appearance at a convention as an exhibitor. While he hadn’t sold any art by the time I spoke with him, he was still very excited to be out, to be seen. His work is truly mind blowing. It does not look like duct tape – even from just a few feet away. Once one gets closer then the texture of the tape, and the layers become visible. By then though the viewer has already been drawn into the piece, and is captivated by the unexpected medium. While Micah and I were talking Video Jouzu’s Bustle Girl came by and interviewed his son. Micah and I had a chuckle over the irony of me interviewing him, while my colleague interviewed his son.
The biggest challenge Micah faces is the amount of detail in some of the original images. Simpler designs like the Imperial emblem from Star Wars only took about 30 – 45 minutes to complete. His Silver surfer took a total of 13 – 17 hours over the course of five days.
The most time consuming part of any piece is the matte. Since everything is made from duct tape, he has to lay down a double layer so the art does not stick to his work surface. Spiderman may be Micah’s favorite, but I am not overly fond of the webbed hero, and yet my eyes were continually drawn to an image of Spidey and Mary Jane. I was less than three feet away, and from the corner of my eye it truly looked like a painting. Looking directly at the piece I could make out those multiple layers of tape, as well as the texture.
If nothing else had gone well for me that day, I would still count myself incredibly lucky to have met Micah and seen his art.