Art about money

In 2014 I started to study money in conceptual as well as practical terms.

Shop Money by Lee Devonish
250 Obverse, prototype pewter coin

This led to developing an alternate identity as a personal finance blogger, but also to wanting to find a way to integrate my disparate fields of interest into my artwork. Money as a concept is utterly fascinating, as it sends out so many barbed roots into our collective consciousness, informing us as to what is valuable and shaping (or skewing) our morality – but it also makes perfect sense that I would turn to examining another ‘shortcode’ for power.

Promise, 12/25. Screen printed cheque
Promise, 12/25. Screen printed cheque

Just mention money and you’ll be misunderstood by most people – your motives may seem fishy and your cred as a serious artist be called into question. Yet this is exactly why art about money is so powerful and unsettling.

Another reason why money art makes people feel so uncomfortable is the sense that anything referencing money falls on the side of illegality, as well as the question of whether that money could be better used elsewhere.

250, Reverse. Pewter coin prototype.

My money art takes the form of prints and sculptures. I’ve always been interested in creating art in multiples, and for these works I’ve used screen printing, block printing and pewter casting.

Fifty | woodblock print | art about money
Fifty, woodblock relief print.

The small relief sculptures in your change jar and engravings in your wallet go unappreciated by most, but are actually marvels of design and connect us to history, and to the history of art.

100. Double sided screen printed banknote.

100, double sided screen printed banknote
100. Double sided screen printed banknote.
100. double sided screen printed banknote, 2019

The need for money is universal, as is the misuse of money. I hope for this series of artworks to make us think about what money does for us, how to think critically about it, and how we can change our relationship with it when it gets out of control.

Here are some more posts about art and money:

Foreign Exchange: Creating My Own Artist’s Currency

Art and Money

Need To Earn: A Basic Income Artwork