Banknotes and Coins Become Works of Art
Have you ever seen Queen Elizabeth II disguised as a bee or Albert Einstein with a fruit turban worthy of Carmen Miranda?
Thanks to Stacey Lee Webber this has become possible!
How? Using banknotes from various nations and embroidering the new looks on them.
If you are curious to find out more about this artist who also uses coins in her very particular works, here’s her interview:
How did the idea of using money for your art come about?
I wanted to question the concept of value and realized that using real money was the most direct way to approach the subject.
In particular, I started with coins because my academic background is that of metalsmithing. I used them in jewels and objects, and I created ‘iconographic inventories’ of birds, monuments, flowers, crowns, boats … extracted from coins.
Then, after having explored their full potential, I became interested in banknotes. In this way, I also found an escape from the noise of metal while continuing to pursue my artistic research.
Why did you choose to embroider banknotes?
For me, it made sense to use thread on paper because they are both delicate and somehow complementary materials.
The embroidery is soft and I was taught it as a child to mend clothing; therefore, it seemed to me the most logical choice.
Why do you always add to the banknotes costumes that mock the political personalities depicted?
It is my way of playing with the history we believe to know so well.
Plus, poking fun at very serious masculine figures that I have grown up with is very enjoyable.
Perhaps this is the reason why Abraham Lincoln, the US president portrayed in the 5-dollar bill, is one of the artist’s favourite subjects. Indeed, we find him in the shoes of a chameleonic clown, a cowboy, a pirate…
Why are there often violent images in banknotes?
After the insurrection at the US capitol building in 2021, I began looking at the monuments depicted on our money in a different light.
Hence, the aggressiveness of the riots and protests became more visible in my artworks through blood, fire, fences, weapons, and ski masks.
Until now, Stacey Lee Webber has always kept separate the techniques she respectively applies to coins and banknotes.
The only series in which these two materials are combined is the one in collaboration with Mark Wagner.
Who knows if she will make others in the future!
Photo courtesy of Stacey Lee Webber