â€œLoving your Motherâ€ isnâ€™t cheap. Painting a house with low VOC paint could crush the remodeling budget. It could take a builder years to recoup the monetary savings associated with installing solar cells. Eating fresh, locally grown food is an exercise in paycheck rationing. Flex-fuel cars are far more expensive than their contemporary gas-guzzler counterparts. And yet, the demand is high enough to support new retailers, products and industry changes. It turns out that money may be the one thing that no one seems to be passionate about holding on to and preserving. Maybe itâ€™s the money thatâ€™s become so blasÃ© and the guilt cost thatâ€™s driving our willingness to hemorrhage future savings in the name of saving the whales. As a person, a father, a business owner and an artist, I am stumped by the irony of this.
Being fascinated by â€œpaperâ€ currency, I have a deep appreciation for our American â€œgreenâ€. But as our economy moves to exchanges being made via bank wires, credit card swipes, smart phone scans and punching in pin numbers, I wonder what is going to happen to our bills over the next hundred years. Already, I hear plenty of pundits discussing the notion of the Federal Reserve no longer wasting its time and resources on circulating the dollar bill. The dollar bill! The very symbol of American capitalism! Can you imagine? I have been hearing talk about the Federal Mint allegedly giving the dollar coin the heave-ho. This sort of talk used to be reserved for the lowly penny. So what about that? We still have pennies, but the only thing they seem to be good for are SPLOST taxes, the little â€œgive a penny, take a pennyâ€ dish at convenient store cash counters and craft projects. Fifty years ago a penny got you a fistful of candy, a bag of nails or a couple of new pencils. Twenty years ago, dollar bill used to be good for a cup of coffee, bus fare or tipping. Now a dollar bill will get you little more than dirty looks.
In the spirit of reusing and preserving the bills that have passed through thousands of hands for hundreds of years, I have been using images from world currency in my mixed media art images for several years now. Intricate block carved borders, memorialized historical likenesses, or portraits of local accomplishments have influenced the way I compose a piece. It is my belief that as technology continues to reduce documents and transactions to files in a system, there is going to suddenly be an abundance of our American green for the taking, and it will be useless. In an ironic twist, our Green will be fodder for the trash heaps or fuel for incinerators.
My installation for 2012 Sustanatopia will be my large-scale fancification of what reducing, reusing, repurposing and recycling looks like in my mindâ€™s eye. What do I think happens? What do we owe one another when we have nothing left?
What does it look like when money fails? A lot of us now know what it feels like when money leaves us in the dust. This is now a global concern. As a kid, I remember the bliss of hoarding a kitty of more than $30 in $1 bills. I lay on my bed, only to throw them up at once and then have them rain back down on me, pimp style. What could have been a better dream come to life than have tens of bills falling down on you at once? Stripper, not being withstandingâ€¦.this was about as good as it could get.
But here we are, in real time, in today time. I look at the news, at the papers, at the internetâ€¦.how do we make it rain now, for real? What does currency look like in the world of bills? How can I make it rain again? How can I make it rain for my friends? How can I make the rain come down for the people walking down the street? We are wandering through a drought and need a little dampening.