currency

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Animation Music

A Mesmerizing Animation Spins Through Banknotes From 23 Countries in a Hypnotic Look at What Cultures Value

September 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

An endless loop of lines, ornate motifs, emblems, and historical figures converge in a hypnotic animation by Los Angeles-based director Lachlan Turczan. Paired with Blake Mills’s subdued track “Money Is The One True God,” the music video is comprised of high-resolution scans spliced together in a mesmerizing rotation. The compilation reveals colorful snippets of currency from 23 countries dating from the 1800s to the present day—these include a portrait of rebellion leader Samuel Sharpe on the Jamaican 50 dollar bill, an engraving of Tenochtitlan on a 100 peso, and a kaleidoscopic sunset on China’s 5 yuan—that show how notions of value have evolved over time.

Turczan writes that he used replacement animation techniques to highlight the guilloché patterns embedded within the bills. While much of the animation focuses on the abstract, it’s also indicative of cultural trends and shifts. “The age of exploration leads to industrialization, wonders of the world are replaced by office buildings, and icons of freedom stand in stark contrast to images of slavery,” he says. “The project culminates with the collective eyes of all world leaders staring back at the audience.”

Having worked with talents like Phoebe Bridgers, Sam von Horn, and Flock of Dimes, Mills’s “Money Is The One True God” is just one of Turczan’s music videos, which you can watch on Vimeo and Instagram. You also might enjoy this stop-motion short at the intersection of culture and economics. (via Booooooom)

 

 

 



Animation

Sand and Currency from Dozens of Countries Converge in an Endless Interchange of Culture and Economics

June 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

Corrie Francis Parks’s absorbing stop-motion short “Foreign Exchange” is all about perspective. Through a continuously evolving landscape of minuscule stones and banknotes, mini-universes emerge that meld the two materials into culturally significant tableaus. “Between the dazzling layers of currency and sand lie connections that can be mined in infinite ways. Each person who views this film will unearth different associations filtered through their worldly experience and national background,” Parks says.

Although the sand shown is small in quantity—Parks can hold all of it in her two hands—it’s sourced from more than 50 countries just like the paper currency, and both materials converge in a perpetual juxtaposition of culture, economics, and nature. The rocks flow across the screen like water and animals, while the colorful collages of ripped money contrast distinct national figures and heritage against a universal economic backdrop. “Canada’s interstellar pride meshes with the gothic arches of Prague’s St. Salvator’s Church. Portugal’s colonial conquests intertwine with a Singapore’s nostalgic market economy. India’s signature animals wallow beneath a Chinese waterfall,” the Baltimore-based animator says in a statement.

Watch behind-the-scenes footage of Parks’s micro-sand process, which involves moving each grain with a toothpick or tweezers before photographing, along with a few of her other animated projects, on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Illustration

Vibrant New Scottish Currency Illustrated with Influential Women and Abundant Wildlife

March 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

During the last four years, the Royal Bank of Scotland launched a democratic project to capture what one collaborator termed “the more ordinary aspects of Scottish identity including otters, midges, mackerel and tweed.” The result is Fabric of Nature, a series of recently released banknotes that feature illustrated wildlife and portraits of some of Scotland’s most influential women. This week, the third installment of the project was released, presenting a new £20 note featuring a pair of bushy-tailed red squirrels.

Author and poet Nan Shepherd is featured on the £5, scientist Mary Somerville is on the £10, and tearoom businesswoman and artist patron Kate Cranston is profiled on the £20. When held up to a UV light, each polymer bill reveals a glowing image of the wildlife, in addition to an English version of Gaelic poetry from Sorley Maclean, Norman MacCaig, and Mark Alexander Boyd that’s visible in daylight. The quotes are scribed by calligrapher Susie Leiper.

A Scottish design studio, Nile, spearheaded the project, with assistance from O Street, Timorous Beasties, Graven, and Stuco. “From the typography to the featured animals, to the bespoke textile backgrounds, every element of every note has a meaning connected with the people of Scotland. The notes are a cultural capture of what is important, and heart felt for us Scots,” a statement from Nile says.

The Scottish redesign is part of a larger movement worldwide to create currency that better captures diversity. In the United States, however, the treasury stalled on releasing a $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman in 2019, saying the updated design would be released instead in 2026.

For a more in-depth look at the collaborative design process for Fabric of Nature, check out the videos Nile’s site. (via It’s Nice That)

Scientist Mary Somerville is on the £10

Tearoom businesswoman and artist patron Kate Cranston

Author and poet Nan Shepherd on the £5

 

 



Art Craft

Elaborate Floral Scrollwork Engraved on Coins by Shaun Hughes

October 28, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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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.

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Art

Imaginary Currency Leaf Insects and Other Fictional Bugs Painted by Takumi Kama

July 22, 2016

Johnny Waldman

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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.

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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)

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Music

Darwin Deez Sings an Entire Music Video from the Perspective of Folded Currency

November 13, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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)

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