Money Artist Makes Beautiful Collages from Thousands of Old Soviet Banknotes

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Igor Arinich is known as the “Money Artist”in his home country of Belarus. He earned that nicknamed after he became famous for creating intricate collages made exclusively from old Soviet banknotes.

He is not the only artist in the world who uses money as his main medium. In fact, he started doing it himself after seeing the works of an American artist who made dollar collages, and he knows of another Russian artist who makes art from modern Rubles. But after trying to imitate them by using modern Belarusian currency, and euros, he realized none of today’s banknotes are as beautiful and colorful as old Soviet bills. So he began visiting flee markets in his city of Minsk, buying every Soviet banknote he could find, dating from 1961 to 1991. It all started as a hobby, but after people became interested in his craft, he decided to become a professional artist. Although he doesn’t want to reveal the number of money collages he has sold so far, Arinich says he charges between $700 and $2000 for his unique artworks, and many of them are sold abroad.

Igor-Arinich-money-collages

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Artist Creates Portraits with Strips of Shredded Money

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Using thousands of paper strips from shredded U.S. Federal Reserve Notes, American artist Evan Wondolowski creates impressive portraits of famous figures, from George Washington to Notorious B.I.G.

According to This Is Colossal, “Evan says that he starts with an underdrawing of the portrait on newsprint and then glues each shred of currency piece by piece before finishing up with a little vine charcoal to increase contrast.” Sounds like a pretty complicated process, but he does manage to restore value to worthless dollars, by turning them into unique works of art. So far, Wondolowski has used shredded dollars to make detailed portraits of icons like Stephen Colbert, Biggie Smalls or George Washington. Looking at how elaborate each of his pieces is, it’s no wonder he takes over a month to complete them.

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Billion Euro Home Is Made from Shredded Remains of 1.4 Billion Euros

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Unemployed Irish artist, Frank Buckley, has built an entire apartment from the shredded remains of 1.4 billion euros he borrowed from the national mint. He says the Billion Euro Home is a monument to the madness the single currency brought to Ireland.

In 2002, when Ireland adopted the euro, a wave of cheap credit flooded the country, fueling a huge property bubble that eventually led to the country’s economic downfall. People were spending billions of euros on buildings, but when the bubble burst in 2007, the country plunged into the deepest recession of the industrialized world, and those buildings quickly lost their value. Frank Buckley was one of the many Irish who was given a 100% mortgage by the bank, to buy a home with an estimated cost of €365,000, despite the fact he had no steady income. Now his house on the far reaches of Dublin’s commuter belt has lost a third of its value, and the artist is stuck with the credit.

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Creative Agency Creates Detailed Money Portraits

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Artists from Chinese creative agency Senseteam cut apart banknotes from various country and recomposed them as detailed portraits, in a series called Big Business 3.

‘Currency symbolizes the value of a nation and its position in the world,’ the designers say, so their portraits ‘reflect the subtle relationships and influences across money, desire,
society, nations, and human beings.’ They also prove money can also be used for something much more meaningful than shopping and making bank deposits – in this case art and cultural statements. To create their colorful artworks, Senseteam members painstakingly cut banknotes into hundreds of strips and glued them together in the shape of intricate human portraits.

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Designer Gives Dollar the Pop-Culture Treatment

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James Charles is not the first artist to use currency as inspiration for his original art, but his works are the geekiest I’ve seen in a while.

While some items of the “American Iconomics“series might have ou think that Charles simply manipulated the faces on genuine dollar bills, it’s just an illusion. The artist kept the original outline of the bills, but replaced the faces of former American presidents with those of famous pop icons like Jimi Hendrix, Master Yoda, Mr. Spock, Sarah Palin, and many others. In sone cases he simply drew over the faces of the presidents to give them a whole new look, but every one of his pop-culture dollars comes with a sarcastic and funny line of text.

The “American Iconomics” collection is currently on display at San Francisco’s Shooting Gallery, where pop-art fans can purchase their favorite artworks for anywhere between $600 and $1,000.

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The Money Sculptures of Justine Smith

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London based artist Justine Smith makes original sculptures and collages using real banknotes from various countries around the world.

From the artist’s website:

Paper has always been a primary material in the work of Justine Smith. Her current work is concerned with the concept of money and how it touches almost every aspect of our lives. She is interested in money as a conduit of power and also in the value systems with which we surround it. On a physical level a banknote is just a piece of paper, but it is what a banknote actually represents that is central to Smith’s work. Through her collages, prints and sculptures she examines our relationship with money in a political, moral and social sense, whilst also exploiting the physical beauty of the notes.

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