The medium of choice for artist Robert Wechsler is U.S. pennies, tens of thousands of which (the largest uses 26,982 coins) he has carefully cut and assembled into a latticework forming perfect cubes. Weschler says of the penny:
With fifty billion currently in circulation, the penny is one of humanity’s most numerous objects, but despite its commonality, it is an extraordinarily rich artifact. As a symbol of American culture, it is on par with the Statue of Liberty. It is a monument to a beloved president. It is a proclamation of a national faith and creed. It is a time stamped record of our civilization. As much ornament as legal tender, the penny is equal parts form and function. It defines elegance just as its ubiquity, low monetary value, and high symbolic value defines humility.
Artist Evan Wondolowski uses thousands of paper strips from shredded U.S. Federal Reserve Notes to create these amazingly detailed portraits of celebrities and politicians. Evan says that he starts with an underdrawing of the portrait on newsprint and then glues each shred of currency piece by piece before finishing up with a little vine charcoal to increase contrast. Each portrait can take up to a month or more. Keep an eye on his website for new works in the future.
Figurative sculptor Gabriel Rufete works with a number of different materials to create delicate, fractured, and often incomplete interpretations of the human form. Among my favorite pieces are his works with welded euro cent pieces. See more on his website. (thnx, perez)
Artist Chad Person, creator of the post-apocalyptic shelter experiment the Resource Exhaustion Crisis Evacuation Safety Shelter that managed to ruffle the feathers of the ATF when he built an improvised shotgun sculpture, has shifted focus to ongoing series of collages made from United States currency. Some of the earliest pieces are part of his TaxCut series, a tongue-in-cheek title stemming from his ability to write off the destroyed currency as part of his taxes. His most recent piece, the kraken shown above, will be on display as part of a group exhibition at Joshua Liner Gallery starting April 19.
I’m really enjoying these folded and pasted currency sculptures by Canadian visual artist Kristi Malakoff (previously). Each polyhedra is folded, cut and pasted together from several bills, blending the textures and colors from multiple worldwide currencies. (via my modern met)
Using thin strips of dissected currency from around the world, Chinese creative firm Senseteam (website currently down) has composed a series of portraits for a book and poster series entitled Big Business 3 meant to “reflect the subtle relationships and influences across money, desire, society, nations, and human beings.” The project won a gold award at the Design for Asia Award 2011 and you can see much more over on designboom.
Too. Much. Fun. While not particularly a new idea, Reddit user MadSon11 recently photographed a great mashup self-portrait using the lower half of Alexander Hamilton’s head from a U.S. $10 bill (top photo). An instant meme was born, and soon dozens of money faces were pouring in from all over the world. The hilarity continues on Visual News.