Dutch Master Max Zorn paints with packing tape

Creating art with tape and scalpel

As dusk falls on the city and the streetlights start to glow, Max Zorn makes his move.

Armed with a razor blade and a roll of tape, he scales a lamppost to unveil his latest work: a work that, like his others, is sure to send the street art scene into a frenzy.

Max Zorn installs one of his tape artworks on an Amsterdam lamp post. CBS News

"By walking around in Amsterdam, I saw these beautiful city lights," Zorn told Jane Pauley. "They define Amsterdam in such a charming way. And I thought, that's a completely underexplored canvas that cities have to offer. And I started experimenting with different materials and hung them up on street lamps."

Zorn created the piece just hours earlier in a gallery nestled along a medieval canal.

He's become a star in the art world with his moody, elaborate portraits and cityscapes, all made with nothing but packing tape and a scalpel.

"I like the brown packing tape because it gives that sepia tone that we know from old photographs or posters or photo album," he said. "I feel it brings in this weird, nostalgic mood that supports certain artworks in a great way."

With the skill of a surgeon, Zorn layers the tape to fashion the dark sections. "When it gets really dark, it's about 15 to 17 layers," he said.

Max Zorn at work. CBS News

He's always careful to not cut too deep. "The tricky part is basically when I cut on top of another layer. So I have to cut carefully enough to not hurt the layer underneath when I peel it off. Otherwise I would peel off the entire artwork."

Max Zorn's portrait of Muhammad Ali. CBS News

The 32-year-old Dutch artist first gained attention when videos of his lamp post art went viral. Soon, his works were being stolen as soon as they went up.

One, of boxing great Muhammad Ali, put up in 2016, is one of the few that has survived. 

But many of his other pieces can be seen over bars, hanging in homes, and displayed in galleries around the world -- some selling for as much as $20,000.

Tape artist Max Zorn creates a "Sunday Morning" sun

"That's a cool moment when I meet them and they see the texture of the tape and they see how it really looks in reality," he said. 

"That's like a moment when I connect very much to them because I still feel that excitement about the medium, and it's great to see the same sort of awe in their eyes that I still feel inside."

In the city of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, Max Zorn is leaving his mark -- one lamppost at a time.  

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