Sunday, 28 December 2014
I'm not normally one for New Year's resolutions but there are a few projects that I want to get started on in 2015 so maybe cracking on with them can be my NYR. One of them is an idea that I've had for a while, and that's the creation of my own currency – well, sort of...
What I would like to do is produce a large edition of double-side prints in the form of a banknote, but to my own design, and my own currency – the 'Chig' (taken from the nickname that I've had since childhood).
So far I've looked into existing currency for a bit of inspiration, and instead of launching straight into my own design I've decided to play around with what's already out there in order to get a better feel for the medium. As you can see, I've had a bit of fun painting on currency left over from some of my previous trips abroad. To see more of my customised currency check out my Oodles of Doodles blog.
In order for me to get this project off the ground there are a few challenges that need to be met – some of which I've already started looking into. As well as signing and numbering each note individually I'd like to get them produced to as high a standard as possible, so that they have an authentic banknote feel. This would involve more than one printing technique (with one employing a raised ink), watermarks, metal thread, possibly holograms, and all printed on the same cotton/linen paper that banknotes are traditionally printed on. And it's this last one that looks like being the biggest stumbling block. Unless you happen to be one of the few organisations in the world that actually prints money legally, then getting hold of the right kind of paper looks to be next to impossible.
I've spoken to a friend who is probably the top artist book binder working today, and she told me that she knows of a few people who still have the right sort of paper but they are book binders who just happen to have small quantities left over from decades ago, when it was still just about publicly available. The obvious reason that it's so hard to get hold of is that it would be very useful to counterfeiters – which led me onto a particular line of enquiry that nearly got me into trouble, and probably on a watched list. I went onto what can only be described as a forgery forum and ended up chatting to some very obvious law enforcement people, posing as counterfeiters looking to recruit gullible young, would-be counterfeiters. Needless to say, the experience wasn't particularly fruitful, although I did learn some interesting facts about the most successful counterfeiting techniques – the details of which are probably best not shared.
An important part of this project is realising my own limitations. As my computer graphic skills are pretty poor I think it best that I find a talented graphic artist with the ability to translate my drawings into the intricate background line work needed to give the final images their banknote-like look. So if you know of anyone out there that might be interested, get in touch.
Then we come to the all important element of the project – funding! One area that I'm considering is crowd funding, although this seems to be a bit of a mine field in itself. If I do go down this route then a friend, horror film-maker, Andy 'Zombie' Edwards, has kindly offered to shoot the promotional video for it, but even so, raising awareness of the project is probably as big a task as the project itself.