At Home: Creating Rhythmic Music for the Eyes 

Gene Davis, United States, 1965, paint

Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of Mr. Vance H. Kirkland, 1980.405. Photograph © Denver Art Museum 2008. All Rights Reserved.

At Home: Creating Rhythmic Music for the Eyes 

Inspired by Phantom Tattoo, Gene Davis, 1965.

In making Phantom Tattoo, Davis carefully laid down masking tape on the canvas to create approximately 220 stripes, each of equal width. When he filled the stripes in with color, he relied on his gut instinct to create a pattern that was like rhythmic music for the eyes.


Create your own rhythmic artwork with colorful lines and patterns.

Use masking tape to outline a set of lines and color in open spaces. Reset the masking tape and repeat. With each reset of the masking tape, let your creativity guide the choice of colors to create a rhythmic pattern.


  • Paper, cardboard, or fabric
  • Masking tape
  • Paint, markers, ink, food dyes
  • Paint brushes, Q-tips, or any mark-making tool