Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Artist of the Week - Justine Smith

Money, money, money! That is one of the major topics in the news right now - AND, we get minute by minute updates - what's up, down, gone, promised, lost, hoarded, slashed or stashed. It got me thinking about artists that might work with money, so I googled and found Justine Smith, a British artist whose medium is primarily paper and can be more specifically money. Here's what her website has to say about this piece I'm featuring, "Money Map of the World" 2004/05.

"Her work is an exploration of our relationship with money and our response to it, in a political, moral and social sense, whilst also exploiting the physical beauty of the note. A Banknote is not only an abstract representation of our labour, but the imagery depicted on it also symbolises the ideas and ideals of a given country's culture and the society that its people live in.

The 'Money Map of the World' compounds many of Smith's ideas relating to money. This piece of work took seven months to produce and is made up of banknotes from every country in the world. The images and cultural symbols on the banknotes are significant and can give an indication not only of the economy of a given country, but also important aspects of its culture. Aside from more obvious images of the local flora and fauna, one can also see elements of a country's history, religion, its aspirations and defining achievements. In some areas such as the Middle East, spiritual and cultural alliances can be seen as groups of countries appear to merge due to the similarity of Islamic design on the banknotes. One can also see economic alliances such as the Eurozone, or West and Central African states, which share common currencies between a group of nations. Similarly, one can also see traces of old empires - some countries borders are naturally formed by rivers or mountains, but other countries borders are man-made and to an extent divided by money."

Have you ever thought about the artistic design that goes into money? The images that are promoted, the ideas, the POWER symbols. When do we stop "seeing" money - what does it represent to you? What do you think about the cutting up of money to create an art piece? We "buy" materials to make art; is it the same when we "buy" money as an art material? Look at the areas certain bills covers - does that indicate the power of the country? What makes some countries money stronger than others? Interesting stuff...

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love this! Not only is it appealing to the eye, but it also concerns things that I love. I always had an interest in different countries but I have never really thought about the differing currencies. This is definitey a concept I want to learn more about. I also love the great collaging. Thanks!

Anna G. 2nd

Anonymous said...

I think this is so cool!!! It's neat to see how different people represent value all over the world. It really puts into perspective the fact that even the US. is small in comparison to the world. To us, the dollar is all that we have probably ever known. You can also see the cultural influences between the regions of the world. I LOVE this!
WM

therock said...

This piece is great! I like it because it uses familiar colors with familiar designs, but all are special and from different countries. I'm interested in currency from other countries and this is a good way of showing dollars.

Anonymous said...

Because I have travled the world, I have seen numerous amounts of currency; the German Frank, the Euro, and the Yen. The dollar is very interesting to me in that the different dollars are weighed more and less than others. It is very intricate in the way the amount is described and edited over the years. I really enjoy art pieces like this one.

Rachel Z. 2nd

Nohemi M. 2 said...

So, I think this piece of art kind of unites the world.It uses bills from different countries to make a whole. But yet, all the bills are different!

Anonymous said...

I like this one! It shows how the currencies around the world really differ between eachother. And some "weigh more" then others meaning they carry a higher value to the u.s. dollar and some "weigh less" meaning a lesser value to the u.s. dollar. For me, i plan on traveling a lot when i am older and hopefully will get to know more about the country and about their currencies and this piece really inspires me to do so.

Emmanuel S. 4th

Anonymous said...

I really llike this pice because it really stood out from the rest to me.
I never really tought about ALL the types of money and I never realized how many there are in the world! I also like the fact that this picture is a map and the currency's are maing a collage of all the different types.

Anonymous said...

i love this! This is so cool. It is art and it teaches you the types of different currencies around the world and where they are used. I like how each are different and have their own uniqueness.

Kendall M. 4th

emma schweitzer said...

emma schweitzer-
Value has been important throughout the history of mans' economy. Seeing this helps someone understand that their own money has a value all over the world, and they can also see the difference in the art on their money compared to others. Chinas' paper money is so colorful and shiny, as well as the mexican and cuban dollars. Looking at this gives me a good artistic approach on the value of the stocks of NASDAQ and the DOW. IT is a very neat piece.

S.E 4 said...

The piture is very cutural and diverse because it has so many differnt kinds of money.

-S.E. 4

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed looking at this piece. It is very interesting to see the different currency the rest of the world uses. It was particularly unique the way the value of each currency was represented in size. This art piece was truely one of a kind!
Carmen Maciel 4th

Anonymous said...

It's an incredibly creative concept. It's a great depiction of our world through the economic eye, and that is a topic that is weighing very heavily on the results of the 3008 presidential election, a topic we all have a say in.

I just hope he's using small bills!

Josh D.
Per. 4

Anonymous said...

This is a very creative map. I think that it is very interesting it shows about the culture of each nation. i always thought that the design of the money is showing some of the culture for each country. Alan S.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the picture of different currencies represents how people only think about money in the world.
Jerry McCusker

Anonymous said...

This piece of art is very intresting! there is usually a limited amount of things you can do a map, but this artist found a unique way to separate the states of the world. It was smart to use money. It almost even looks like they were separated by color.
Also, it must have been really hard to cut out the money to exactly fit it to a real map, and it must have taken a long time to finish it!!!!!!
(Plus, this is good map to use to study for Human Geo.!)


Brittany Garcia
2nd Period

Devondria R. said...

This is a great way to look how the countries of the world differ. I mean we already know the world is not the same but we never have looked how the economy of each world differs. THe conrast between the different colors of currency reprsent so much like the cultral background and influences of the human society.

Anonymous said...

I adore this piece of art! It has great line and color. I collect money from around the world and the currencies change so much. This piece really shares something personal with me. I love how the neutral color gives you the effect that there is something deeper. There's something more. I really enjoy this piece of art.

Adriana Lopez. 2nd.