Billboard Artist Spotlight: How Leah Abucayan Keeps It Weird with Duct Tape

We love having artists visit MailChimp HQ. Fromlegendary cartoonists to rap pioneers, to all sorts of other folks, creative guests leave us brimming with new ideas. Plus, they make the work day a lot more fun.

When we heard about an artist named Leah who creates intricate pieces using nothing but duct tape and an exacto knife, we knew we had to meet her. And when we saw her MailChimp-inspired duct tape designs, we thought, This should probably go on a billboard. Fast forward several weeks, and fried egg Freddie is now a 25-foot art installation looking down on the streets of Atlanta.

Walk around our ATL offices and the likelihood that you’ll end up in the middle of someone’s weird project is pretty high. Luckily, Leah was a good sport about us peppering her with questions while duct tape Freddie came to life. Below, she gives us a peek into her process and explains the unique world of duct tape art.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

The name is Leanza. (But you can call me Leah!) I’m a Filipino graphic designer from NorCal and my preferred medium is duct tape. I formerly worked at Walt Disney Imagineering. I collect fannypacks. I like eggs on everything.

How did you decide to start making duct tape art?

I was in sixth grade the first time I saw someone with a duct tape wallet. It was just your basic gray tape, kinda sloppily put together. So I took a stab at it and realized I could do so much more with tape than making wallets. Throughout middle school and high school I was commissioning wallets and bags. Now I just focus more on the design aspect. I think of it like manual vector illustration.

What’s the inspiration for your design?

Duct tape colors are limited and I wanted this billboard to pop, so I went with a ’90s-inspired look, even threw a little dookie chain on my chimp. I think it showcases the vibes of how dope the culture of this company is. As for the Freddie-shaped fried egg, I like eggs. Everything’s better with a fried egg on top. Whenever there’s a chance to add a fried egg to my order, I typically do. Why not top off my billboard with one too?

What does it mean for you to have your art on a billboard?

Having my duct tape work on a billboard opens up so many possibilities. Kinda like that aha moment when I realized I could take duct tape a step further that just fixing things and making wallets. It’s a medium that isn’t very common, so to be able to share that on a large scale is big for me.

You can follow Leah on Instagram at @hellaleah. If you’re in Atlanta you can check out duct tape Freddie on our Krog Street billboard.

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