September 4, 2007
This photo is in the latest issue of Wired Magazine accompanying an article titled Turns Out, Money Does Grow on Trees by David Wolman. The photographer is credited as Mauricio Alejo, but I wonder who created the art? Anyone know who did this? I emailed Mr. Wolman, maybe he knows. Geez, I just noticed that’s a Benjamin.
August 1, 2007
Australian art student Nicholas Manion [Queensland College of Art, Brisbane] has hit upon a clever idea: delicately cut paper currency forming the skyline of major cities. His one-of-a-kind notes bring a contemporary visual connection to their country of origin, in addition to images of statesmen, local languages and artistic styles.
Money makes the world go round and circles the globe forming links between cities on opposite sides of the world. Nicholas further explains his art:
My work aims to explore ideas connected with cities, urban life and the built environment. Reflecting my own background, my art cannot be solely understood as either illustration or sculpture; rather in challenging the relationships between two-and three-dimensional forms, these works in paper seek to create an “in-between” state of pure form free from preconceptions and noise. I seek to transform common materials such as paper and cardboard into delicate objects of intricate detail and unexpected beauty.
Money and paper art together. I wish I knew about his work for this years’ Money Week. Nicholas asked if I had any information about the legality of selling these works as art, whether there are laws pertaining to the defacement of paper money? Anyone know about this?
Look what Photoshop had to say when I attempted to open one of his jpg images:
This only happened with one of the images, the rest opened fine. I had to convert this JPG into a PDF file, then open it with Photoshop, which had no problem with the image as a PDF. The weird “Big Brother” thing was the actual image [see below]. Why did this image get flagged when the rest didn’t? And why did all the images in Money Week make it past the Photoshop censors without a peep, when some of those images are actual scanned notes? Weird…
April 19, 2007
Paper Money Week is over, so here’s a penny post…
How amazing is this? I just HAVE to do this some day. Very clever. The artist (who is it?) says, “I used 1,702 pennies to make a portrait of Lincoln. Sorting the coins took about seven hours, and making the image took just under six. May 2005.” Awesome, just aswesome.
Paper Money Week Leftovers
From Wikipedia: In 2001, a man bought a sundae at a Danville, KY Dairy Queen with a $200 bill featuring George W. Bush and received $197.88 in change. In September 2003, a North Carolina man named Travis Martin used a $200 bill at a Food Lion to purchase $150 in groceries. The cashier cashed the fake bill and presented Martin with $50 in change.
A Basil Fawlty 10 Pound Note.
Now you can smell just like money. Last year I posted about Library Scented Cologne. Do you think the person with the Library smell will hit it off with the person who has Money scented cologne on?
Apparently the notes were created by the BBC for use during a scene in which the Doctor causes an ATM machine to start spewing money out into the street. Instead of using real money, which would have been a bit expensive, they printed up some phony notes. But, of course, fans quickly grabbed the loose notes that were floating around.
The African-American Face Reserve Obligation banknote was a Local Currency issued by a black investment banker Price in the late 1980’s in Chicago. Its purpose was to promote local businesses within the black community. Price hoped to establish a trust fund to finance housing, educational scholarship and to provide venture capital for new black businesses. These notes were also initially accepted by local banks, as well as merchants, but eventually the banks stopped accepting them and the program was discontinued.
Local Currency Ithaca Hours, from Ithaca, New York, were created during the 1991 recession. Paul Glover designed prototype hour bills and began asking people to sign up to accept them. Had there not been a Farmer’s Market with lively vendors who saw Ithaca Hours as yet another way to barter, they would have not gotten off the ground. History will note that Ithaca resident Catherine Martinez was the first person to accept an Ithaca Hour: in exchange for a samosa. Today one Ithaca Hour is equal to one hour of basic labor, or $10.00.
The Kingdom of Landreth is a micronation state which does not possess any land. However, Money makes the world go round so just because Landreth doesn’t “exist” doesn’t mean there isn’t Landreth money…
Founded by Mahirishi Mahesh Yogi, the Global Country of World Peace has been in existence for more than 50 years. A world renowned peace activist and practitioner of transcendental meditation, Mahirishi Mahesh Yogi’s goal is the elimination of world poverty. The Raam local currency notes have been circulating in Meru, The Netherlands as well as Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, USA. As with all local currencies, their purpose is to promote commerce in a local community with merchants who accept these currencies.
Talk about egg money. Who would have thought Egg Balancing was someone’s hobby. This is a representation of a 50 Yeun note made from stacked eggs. Stacking chickens was just too difficult.
The currency of the United States is printed in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. However, at one time you could spend $500, $1,000. $5,000, $10,000 & $100,000 dollar bills. These were legal US currency bills.
April 18, 2007
Today is the last day for Paper Money Week
That’s a hand-drawn U. S. dollar bill, created by the most infamous money artist of them all, J. S. Boggs. I just finished reading the biography, Boggs: A Comedy of Values. Boggs sees paper currency as the trust between parties to a perceived, and arbitrary, value. If our currency is no longer backed by Gold or other tangible asset, every one of us is engaged in an agreement that our paper money “represents” something.
Boggs’ money art reflects this attitude.
He skillfully copies currency, say a $10.00 [US] bill, and attempts to sell or trade the drawing for exactly $10.00. If he’s successful in finding someone to accept his drawing at an amount equal to face value of the hand-drawn bill, he begins a complicated transaction which includes signing the bill, signing the receipt and noting where and when the transaction took place. The bill is now in the possession of the recipient, while the receipt and change remains with Boggs. In a day or so, he contacts his collector network to advise them that a trade has been made, perhaps offering only vague information regarding where and when. The collectors now attempt to track down the recipient to acquire the note, sometimes offering large sums of money for the single bill.
Once a bill has been acquired, Boggs will part with the other half of the “transaction”, the receipt and change. So the complete package of drawing, receipt, change and sometimes even a narrative or photos, are what Boggs considers his “art”. When he shows at galleries, the complete package is on display.
There’s more to his art than these transactions. He once tried to live a year on only the income from his drawings. He also creates large scale artwork, but it’s the extremely detailed one-sided drawings of currency that Boggs is known for. And it’s not just collectors who follow his work. He has been arrested numerous times, even facing the British equivalent of America’s Supreme Court for drawing and displaying the British Pound note. He was found not-guilty, but Boggs life does not seem to be as easy as one would imagine it to be - a successful artist who draws his own money. But drawing your own salary and watching your art appreciate in value hasn’t removed the demons in Boggs’ life.
This past February he was arrested on warrants that he failed to appear in court for previous charges of possession of methamphetamines, possession of drug paraphernalia and carrying a concealed weapon.
There aren’t enough images of Boggs art on the web, but I’ve posted what I found. If anyone has a link to a Boggs gallery, please post in the comments.
Boggs at demenga-galleries.ch
Boggs at www.boldtype.com
Boggs at www.pennylicious.com
Boggs at artscenecal.com
Boggs at www.toutfait.com
Boggs at www.reason.com
Boggs at www.tjcenter.org
Boggs at pbs.org
April 17, 2007
Antarctica Dream Dollars
I’ve been looking forward to posting Dream Dollars for Paper Money Week - which continues since us Rhode Islanders have until the 17th to actually file. Dream-Dollars have a history, a complicated one, filled with nefarious characters, a vanishing colony and a mysterious numbering system. The bills themselves are beautiful and as you can imagine, there are plenty of Antarctica Dream Dollar collectors out there. I think I may be one myself.
The mystery of the Lost Colony of Antarctica has baffled scholars for decades. A vibrant, thriving colony that flourished for over 30 years simply vanished overnight. No trace of the over 300 colonists was ever found. The return of the first rescue mission in 1901 yielded few clues. Many speculated that the colonists marched into the sea, but all the ships were accounted for save one. The Recovery and Salvage Expedition of 1921 brought back many answers, but also many new questions.
And on another note:
“Life is an exchange,” Samuel Brundt was wont to say. “An exchange of heat, energy, force, love, hate, art. There are spiritual and material transactions occurring every minute. Our monetary system is a microcosm of this.” (Excerpt from, The Great Transaction, by Samuel Brundt, New York 1843) The Church of Spiritual Commerce grew out of the philosophy and teachings of Samuel and Constance Brundt. It officially formed in New York City on January 1, 1838 as a metaphysical society of like-minded thinkers, and had an initial membership of 16 people.
Constance Brundt experimented with using her husbands natural number system to generate dreams. This proved so fruitful, that she developed an entire system for “dream-seeding” using these natural numbers. Eventually, this evolved into the creation and use of Dream-Dollars for use in dream seeding. Constance designed the visual content and iconography of the famous Dream-Dollars, while Samuel created the numerological system on which it was based.
Together they devised the plan to use Dream-Dollars as a form of social engineering. By having the whole colony abandon a standard number system and adopt a more irrational, “natural” number system, the Brundt’s hoped to bring about a change in the way the colonists thought and imagined. They believed that constructs such as language and mathematics shape the mind and determine the way we think and create. By radically changing something as basic as the number system people use, Samuel Brundt believed he could radically change the human thought process, to evolve it into a higher, more perfect process. The number system is elucidated in several of his writings, most notably in his tract, The Wheel of Light (New York, 1845). Samuel Brundt felt that because of the strong effects Dream-Dollars had on dreaming, they would have a tremendous impact on the subconscious minds of the spenders of the his money.
I bought a package of Dream-Dollars from Stephen’s eBay store and I couldn’t be happier. They are works of art, clever, detailed and have a wonderful history - fake or not? I collect items relating to polar exploration and the fact that Dream-Dollars are from Antarctica just make them all the more special. Get yours on eBay.
Learn more about Antarctica Dream Dollars
Buy Dream Dollars on eBay
Stephen Barnwell [the artist behind the Antarctica Dream Dollars] is an artist and illustrator with work appearing in books, magazines, websites, gaming products, films, and plays.
Stephen is a recognized “money artist” with a reputation as a witty commentator on political topics and the value of currency similar to Boggs. He has exhibited both in the US and in Europe at various numismatic and money art shows. Collectors of his moneyart look forward to new issues and even strive to receive low serial numbers.
His work is finely crafted with an eye for detail and composition. Some of his notes are political in nature, commenting on the war and our governments attempt to demonize the enemy. When we look at a United States of Islam dollar bill, we think about our own anxieties and fears regarding perceived threats against our western culture. The “Betsy Ross” in traditional Islamic head gear is either funny, witty or disturbing, depending on your historical perspective.
United States of Islam six dollar bill.
The State Of War is politically subversive but clever enough to be embraced by the traditional art world.
The Empire Of America satirizes our military and political aims with a not-so-subtle two dollar bill payable in Oil to the bearer on demand. Note the signatures on the face of the bill.
Play Money! Jack Phillips has been collecting play money for more than 20 years. He is also the publisher of the American Play Money Society (APMS) newsletter Fun Money. Who knew!
Buy Play Money
I’m a fan of the arctic and Antarctica. I don’t know why, but if I ever had a chance to visit the arctic or take a trip to the south pole I’d do it in a heartbeat. A friend of mine is in Spitzbergen studying Polar Bears and I live vicariously through his travel notes.
I collect Polar Exploration books and memorabilia relating to Fridtjof Nansen - a strange hobby, I know - so I was excited to find bank notes from the [unofficial] Bank of Antarctica. The notes are available to collectors, but don’t have an actual value. I’d be curious to know if they have ever been accepted in the few places where you can spend money at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
official Bank Of Antarctica
Wikipedia entry for theBank Of Antarctica
April 16, 2007
I was first introduced to Noney by our friend Will Schaff, who appears on the note above. Noney does not have a face value, or does it? Noney can be exchanged for goods or services equal to the value you place on the note as either art or barter. Providence, Rhode Island artist and Noney creator Alec Thibodeau [AKA: the anagrammatic Obadiah Eelcut] describes Noney as having a “relative” value, a value which you yourself place on the note:
Noney is a new currency, with each note being a hand-drawn, hand-printed and hand-signed piece of art. Each note can also be traded for things. Like all money, Noney is for people to circulate. The result is a combination of performance, public art and printmaking. Obadiah Eelcut draws prints and issues Noney.
So, does all this “art money” have a value? An obvious answer is yes, it has the value “you” place on it or the value that is agreed upon at the time of a transaction. Boggs articulated this arbitrary value best with his currency exchanges and collaborative art performances. But I think the value these dollars are as art objects. I don’t know if these notes are circulated - or if any art notes are circulated - I think collectors and “fans” hold on to them while the artist has an opportunity to make a statement concerning art, value and money.
Alec, thanks for taking time to answer a few questions. When did you decide to create Noney? What was your motivation?
The idea for Noney unfolded back in the summer of 2001 after I had spent many years screenprinting art prints and posters. At the time poster making was a form practiced by many other artists in late 90s Providence, as evidenced last year’s Wunderground show at the RISD Museum. People were happy spending many hours crafting an image just to have it ultimately scattered it to the wind — sometimes literally.
I love this attitude of giving and the performance that hanging handmade posters entails. Distributing a limited set of these means going out into the world and meeting people and telling them what you’re up to and showing them the work you’re about to hang. It’s so delightful and direct, a really great and immediate way for an artist to get feedback and encouragement.
So I started wondering how to replicate the process without posters, by prints that only referenced themselves instead of an event. Currency seemed like a ready-made form with which to get more people involved and make the project have a wide and unlimited circulation.
Are you interested in how our perceptions of currency are associated with monetary values as opposed to esthetic values?
I was familiar with the work of other artists like Boggs, who had spoofed dollar bills in one-of-a-kind drawings or inkjet prints. But I couldn’t think of anyone who had issued a completely handdrawn and handprinted edition of original currency with individual serial numbers. As far as I could tell, nobody had done a project that was both a series of fine art prints and a practical set of durable paper money. It just made so much sense to do it. And beyond the physical comparisons I started thinking about how art appreciates over time, while currency generally loses value due to inflation. So this currency would be backed by its own aesthetic worth, which is subjective but has a guaranteed starting value of at least zero… hence the name and denomination.
How did you pick the subjects (Will, etc) for the bills?
In 2002 I held a contest called “Are You the Face of Noney?” I put up posters around Providence and nearby towns asking people to mail me their photograph and the name of their favorite bird and vegetable. Additionally I walked through various neighborhoods throughout the city with a Polaroid camera and introduced myself to people I thought might look good on currency notes. After a few months I chose ten face combinations (portrait, bird, vegetable) that were compelling both individually and as a set of ten. Some of these people were friends of mine, others I got to know through the contest. A few of them I met after completing all the work. One or two are people who sent their photos through the mail or email and I have yet to meet.
How were the bills printed?
The notes are screenprints on polyethylene fiber. I printed them by hand, squeegeeing ink through a stencil on a screen of mesh — a process commonly known as silkscreening. It’s a physical workout, like doing situps while standing.
Was there only the one issue?
So far there’s only been one issue of 10,000 notes. I might print more if I see the need to.
Any interesting stories about Noney being accepted in the real world for goods or services?
Somebody once traded me their frequent flyer miles for Noney. (I took a round-trip flight to Albuquerque to visit friends.) An eye doctor once accepted Noney from me as payment for an office visit. My usual favorite trades are art from other artists and food. I have some amazing paintings, prints and drawings all bought with Noney. Past food trades are all memories now, but some highlights have been homemade vegan chocolate biscotti sent from a nice woman in Minnesota, twelve bottles of organic wine from a vineyard in Oregon, Hawaiian snack food, cookies from DC, dark chocolate from Russia and fruit from street vendors in New York.
Are there any bills left?
Out of an initial supply of 10,000 notes there are a few hundred left in my hands. In the early months of the project I would always carry Noney on me and present it whenever cash was required. Now I just carry it in case the subject comes up in conversation or in the event someone already knows about it and wants to trade on the spot. Also, I sign each note by hand using the anagrammatic pseudonym Obadiah Eelcut.
Tell us a little bit about the money-art show you were involved with?
The show was called MONEY AS ART/ART AS MONEY. It was at the Brogan Museum in Florida last fall and featured the work of about fifteen different artists, including Boggs and myself. Not just limited to currency art, the show also explored more abstract concepts surrounding money and its value. One of my favorite artists was also included, the great and tragically short-lived Mark Lombardi.
Art provocateur Banksy is best known for his graffiti art, and for being “unknown”, and in 2004 Banksy printed a million pounds [British Pounds] worth of “Diana” Ten Pound Notes at the seventh year anniversary of her death. I’ve had a hard time finding a decent scan of one of the notes, so here are a bunch of photos. What happened to the notes? Not sure, were they sold as a lot? Individually? One fan described the faux notes this way:
Banksy turned a million pounds of paper money into a million pounds of real money (and then some). That’s why he placed them in a suitcase. The Diana £10 note was a grand parody of the capitalist system.
So was this performance art? Did Banksy turn a million pounds of faux paper money into a million British pounds worth of “Art”.
Banksy Diana Notes on www.artofthestate.co.uk
Banksy Diana Notes on www.artnet.com
San Diego money artist Jake has been hand-drawing currency since he was six years old. When I asked him what drew him to currency and he said, “The lack of it…” Drawing money isn’t easy…
April 13, 2007
Money week continues…
Booklyn artist Mark Wagner is a co-founder and proprietor of Bird Brain Press. His reputation as a publisher is evidenced by both his tenure as head of Booklyn Publications as well as by the demand for Bird Brain Press publications. His own artwork includes artists books as well as these collage pieces made entirely from paper money.
Looking closely at these portraits I assume the majority of the material is from one dollar bills. It’s interesting to look at money as just contrasting light and dark elements but even so, it’s hard to completely let go of the value we place on currency. I don’t know for sure, but there must be art materials, paint, gold leaf, what have you, which have a value equal to or even more than the value of a one dollar bill if you were to look at it as a cost per square inch. Just a thought. If a dollar bill has 15 square inches, then each inch has a value of .06¢. It’s just paper. Expensive paper, but paper nonetheless.
Mark Wagner is represented by Pavel Zoubok Gallery
Brooklyn Artist Ken Solomon uses currency as art medium. His self-portrait collage made of countless pieces of dollar bills is pointedly titled ”Am I Worth It”? The piece, “Steakhouse Waiters”, is made from tip money.
More about Ken Solomon
What can you fold a dollar bill into? You’ve probably seen a swan, a boat and a paper airplane, but here are more complicated moneygami folds.
See more at flickr
What can you do with a couple of dollars and five minutes? A little bit of origami skills and you can make an origami star. Impress your waitor the next time you leave a tip. Origamist Trang Chung [not to be confused with Wang Chung] calls his creations “Starigami”. Can you figure out how much each one costs? The first one is pretty expensive!
Visit Trang Chung’s starigami gallery
Everything you wanted to know about the new US Currency changes and how they protect us from counterfeits. This site is an official US government information site with facts about watermarks, security threads, color-shifting ink, microprinting and fine-line printing patterns, all of which make the new $20’s impossible to scan and print at home.
April 12, 2007
Paper Money Week continues!
Charlie England has created a mash-up of the worlds currency and removed kings and presidents and statesmen and queens and replaced them with floating icebergs. Each printed note takes weeks to produce by hand printing ink onto handmade paper using the same software as The Bank Of England. I love the lonely imagery. Is this where we’re headed?
More Charlie England
BBC show review
in 1859, San Franciscan Joshua Abraham Norton pronounced himself His Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, “Emperor of these United States.” Norton was humored as an early example of an eccentric San Franciscan who was treated well by local citizens and businesses, even being referred to as “His Imperial Majesty”. The census of 1870 records a Joshua Norton residing at 624 Commercial St, and lists him with the occupation of “Emperor.”
On occasion, Norton issued his own money in order to pay debts, and this ‘local currency’ was generally accepted as legal tender by San Francisco businesses. The earliest local currency, or fantasy dollars, I’ve found.
Source: Wells Fargo History Museum
San Francisco, California
Wikipedia: Emperor Norton
Emperor Norton’s Notes
Back in the movie days of black & white, when movie studio film scripts called for paper money, the art director simply ordered studio dollars from the prop room. Apparently, studios printed their own “fake” money to be used on-screen in place of the real thing. Makes sense - no point reprinting fake dollars everytime an actor has to throw a hundred one-dollar bills into the air.
Buy Studio Dollars here