Over the past few years we’ve explored a number of artists keen on transforming the faces of coins into sculptural artworks, a craft dating back to the 18th century that’s known colloquially as a hobo nickel. One such artist who has his own unique twist on etching the faces of coins is UK-based engraver Shaun Hughes who focuses mostly on embellishing existing coin faces with different styles of floral scrollwork. The patterns often sprawl directly across the coin’s portrait creating an intriguing tattoo-like effect. Hughes shares photos and process videos on his Instagram account and sells many of his final creations on Ebay.
To avoid becoming prey, leaf insects use mimicry to blend into their surroundings. But in Takumi Kama’s imagined future, when the insect’s natural environment has been completely destroyed, these masters of camouflage will have no choice but to move in with those who took away their home.
Animals and insects are no stranger in the work of Japanese painter Takumi Kama, who recreates them in acrylics with astonishing accuracy and realism. For a recent exhibition at BAMI gallery in Kyoto, Kama came up with 2 different, imaginary leaf insects that camouflage themselves in the city. One is the Hide-mushi, which gets its name from Hideo Noguchi, who appears on the 1000 yen bill (mushi means insect). The Hide-mushi camouflages itself amongst Japanese currency and feeds on paper, which can affect its color.
Then there is the Comi-mushi, which camouflages itself amongst comic books and comic strips. It can often be spotted in bookstores, convenience stores but have also been known to come out on days when garbage trucks pick up paper for recycling.
Kama has painted these imaginary insects with such realism that it can be hard to tell if they’re 2 or 3-dimensional. But rest assured, no currency has been defaced in the name of art. Everything from the insects to the specimen boxes have been painted on canvas. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Although the money face trend swept the internet back in 2011, that doesn’t make this new video from Darwin Deez any less hilarious. Almost every shot was created by aligning Deez’s mouth or other facial features with the subjects of world currencies in real time. Fun fact: because of Photoshop’s impressive currency detection algorithm it was almost impossible to edit a single screenshot from this video. Directed by Oscar Hudson. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
Bronze Age gold spirals found in Boeslund, 900-700 BC. Credit: Morten Petersen / Zealand Museum.
A team of archaeologists working in Boeslunde, Denmark recently stumbled onto an intriguing mystery: nearly 2,000 tightly-wound golden spirals dating back to the Bronze Age. The discovery of gold in Boeslunde isn’t uncommon, as numerous gold objects have been unearthed in the region over the last few years. But the purpose of these coils has stumped archaeologists who refer to the find as the “golden enigma.”
The spirals are made from extremely pure gold that was hammered flat to just 0.1 millimeter thick. Some pieces measure up to 1.18 inches long and all together weigh between 200 to 300 grams (7-10 ounces). Their exact purpose is anyone’s guess, but Flemming Kaul, a curator with the National Museum of Denmark, believes the coils are most likely related to prehistoric Bronze Age people who were known to offer gold to higher powers as part of sun rituals.
“The sun was one of the most sacred symbols in the Bronze Age and gold had a special magic,” Kaul writes. “Maybe the priest-king wore a gold ring on his wrist, and gold spirals on his cloak and his hat, where they during ritual sun ceremonies shone like the sun.” It’s also suggested the gold was simply buried as part of an elaborate sacrifice.
Whatever the use or meaning behind the pieces, it’s an extraordinary and priceless find. The local museum in
Skaelskor already held a temporary viewing before the spirals find a permanent home. You can read more over on the History Blog. (via Neatorama, Gizmodo)
Gold spirals surrounded by flakes of birch pitch. Credit: Flemming Kaul / National Museum of Denmark.
Gold spiral in situ. Credit: Flemming Kaul / National Museum of Denmark.
Credot:Morten Petersen / Museum Vestsjælland.
Update: Adam Swickle writes: “The shavings are from shaving gold coins down. Merchants did this when they paid in quantity instead of weight, and that is why coins have ridges now, to show they haven’t been shaven down.”
For her MA degree project at the University of West Hungary, Budapest-based graphic designer Barbara Bernát devised this lovely concept for the Hungarian euro. The project involved five denominations of increasing scale, each made with a set of copperplate etchings; animals of increasing size on the front and related plants on the back. The kicker is a security feature that reveals the skeleton of each animal under UV light, not unlike the new Canadian passport. Regardless of whether this would translate well into actual currency, this is phenomenal way to get hired. Design students take note. (via Kottke)
About two years we featured a great selection of skull nickels, a numismatic curiosity where miniature bas relief sculptures are carved into coins, an artform that’s broadly referred to as hobo nickel art. While researching a follow-up article on Hobonickelart.com I stumbled onto the work of Paolo Curcio (aka “mrthe”) who appears to have taken the process of carving coins to an entirely new level. Using a variety of different coins the Barcelona-based artist creates etched homages to pop culture, illustrations of figures from literature, and most commonly: macabre portraits of skulls and death, probably the most prevalent theme in hobo nickel art.
One aspect of Curcio’s process that’s really amazing is his ability to use coins made from multiple layers of metal (referred to as clad coins) which he then strategically reveals to create colored flourishes and background patterns. You can see much more of his work over on his website, and keep an eye on his Ebay page for occasional coin listings.