James Stephen George Boggs started drawing currency in 1984 as payment for goods. With him began a legacy of currency art that is still prevalent today. Artists that use money as a medium for their work believe that the familiarity of currency adds to the artistic value of the piece. While currency art is intriguing and nostalgic, it is technically a felony in most parts of the world to deface currency. There are no exceptions, even for artwork made from money. Despite this fact, the demand for currency is always increasing and it doesn't show sign of stopping anytime soon.
Surprisingly, there are quite a few exceptionally talented artists that work almost exclusively with currency. Whether they use it to send a message or because they appreciate the aesthetic that paper money offers as a creative medium, currency artists have a tendency to create some very unique and interesting works. Justine Smith uses currency as a means to bring light to social issues. Her 2005 work "Absolute Power," is a testament to the power that money holds over people. Tattoo artist Scott Campbell is one of the most popular currency artists of today's time. In his amazing "Piéce de Résistance," Campbell used $11,000 worth of one dollar bills to create a stunning three-dimensional skull. Some artists prefer to use currency to create something entirely new. Chad Person is one such artist. He is famous for his fantastical mosaic dubbed "Kraken" which is crafted exclusively out of dollar bills. Mark Wagner and Sean Diedker are also two prominent artists in this style of currency art with works such as "Duhdunt" and "Trump."
Currency art has found a home in the heart of many art-lovers due to its uniqueness. Unfortunately, it is plagued by legal concerns as its creation is technically illegal. While some artists have opted for fake currency instead of real bills, a majority of currency artists are not concerned about legal repercussions and have even had their work displayed in the US treasury. The future of currency art is not certain; however, the chances are that we can expect more fascinating currency creations in the future.