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Erika Simmons: Transforming cassette tape into art

September 1, 2009 | 12:28 pm

Jimi hendrix Remember cassette tapes? Now, remember when your Walkman ate your favorite LL Cool J album, disembodying the string of tape from the plastic case, leaving you with one less thing to listen to and a pile of black waste? Fond memories.

Erika Simmons, an artist from St. Louis, has turned those nostalgic frustrations into beautiful homages to music legends. Intently ripping into her cassettes, Simmons, 25, molds the lump of tape into sculptures of rock stars.

In the year or so since she started the "Ghost in the Machine" project, she has made works in the shapes of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Trent Reznor, the Beatles and countless others. Her Michael Jackson artwork will be on display in a gallery at UCLA on Oct.  4 -- her first such show in the United States.

"The idea came from the idea of mind-body dualism and how your spirit lives in your body," Simmons said.

The photos of the sculptures on Flickr have drawn tens of thousands of hits each and international attention. Simmons charges between $800 and $4,000 for original cassette-tape artwork.

And she supplies her own cassettes. You can hang onto your bootleg REO Speedwagon tapes.

-- Mark Milian

Jimi Hendrix cassette tape art. Credit: Erika Simmons