Foreign Exchange – an artist’s currency

I’ve been working on (ok, thinking about) my currency project, Foreign Exchange, for a few years now.

 

Foreign Exchange refers to my experience of living between currencies. As a Barbadian, my country’s currency was tied to the US dollar at a rate of 2:1 – so there was always a sense of being half as valuable, or having to work twice as hard for the same result.

 

After moving to the UK, I experienced an even greater shift in value, with one Barbados dollar roughly equating to one third of one British pound at one point.

Creating my own currency is an act of resetting value. I’ve naturally settled on an exchange rate of 2:1, resetting my own personal valuation along the lines of the system I grew up under.

Foreign Exchange - "Promise" by Lee Devonish. Screen print on cheque, 2017.

How the project works:

Artwork created for the project takes the form of cheques and notes.

 

Notes are created with specific denominations (in limited editions), and importantly, can always be exchanged.

This means I’m prepared to exchange my currency for the currency with which they were bought, meaning that the sale of the work is converted into a long-term exchange.

 

Cheques are an even more personal form of exchange, as they must be written out to one individual, and that individual is free to request the amount they want the cheque to be made out for. (The minimum amount that a cheque can be written for is £25 plus £5 postage.)

 

These cheques cannot be exchanged, but you can take your chances in paying them in to your bank… whether they will be honoured is a risk you would have to take, but then that would mean that the artwork and its value as an artwork above its base matter would be lost.

 

Perks for patrons

Recently I created the first stage: an edition of 25 screen prints on cheques. I’m releasing these to the public as well as to my Patreon patrons, but of course there’s something special in it for patrons.

All of my patrons can access a reduced exchange rate – 1:1 – on all of my Foreign Exchange artworks. This means a 50% discount!

Numbers 1-10 are available to patrons only (sign up here), and numbers 11-25 will be listed on my website’s shop page as well as Etsy.

To give feedback on the project, ask questions or reserve a cheque, email lee@leedevonish.com

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