My world of publishing just collided with my world of moneyart! Before I started designing and publishing books in 2014, I made currency art for 15 years. One of the many moneyart projects I did was making artmoney for Artmoney.org, founded by Lars Kraemmer. Lars and I have been friends and collaborators for years, but this was the first time we actually met! Lars and his family were in NYC for a week on vacation, and we made a point of getting together. At lunch, Lars purchased a copy of Willoughby’s World of Wonder with two of his artmonies (I got the better of the deal, as artmoney pieces are worth about US$35 each! Plus Lars’ artwork is amazing!). We got to know each other really well, and Joan and I had an wonderful time hanging out with Lars, Hiromi, and their two sons, Sanshiro and Kishichiro. Now, I just need to get myself over to visit them in Copenhagen, and see Lars’ studio and gallery!
I got involved with Artmoney.org, formerly known as the Bank of International Artmoney (BIAM) in 2006. I had been making moneyart since 1999, and I wanted to branch out. My currency art style was very traditional and American, and I was attracted to the freedom of making moneyart be anything I wanted! I decided to adopt a more European style, with modern, clean designs. It was quite fun, and opened up a few doors for me, both creatively, and with several European exhibitions!
I made a bunch of artmoney pieces from 2006 through 2009, and then another batch of new works around 2015. What I do is design the artwork in photoshop, make numbered prints on card stock, and then hand-color each one individually. That’s a requirement of artmoney: each work must be a unique original work of art, no prints. They are all valued at 200 Danish Kroner, which is roughly US$35, and Lars has created a network of shops, restaurants, and B&B’s that accept Artmoney as payment, just like real money, throughout Europe and the world.
Above is a more recent artmoney that I did, getting further away from traditional currency art motifs. I think I’ll get back into making artmoney again, it’s fun, and they do sell! I would encourage any artist to give it a try. Just go to Artmoney.org.