For the love of money. – I’ve been obsessed with money for as long as I can remember. It’s the foundation of society and affects everything within it. Although people have become divided by politics, religions, and languages, we are all united by our collective dependence on money. My work transforms currency from a medium of exchange to a medium of expression. While the money used in these portraits is no longer valid as legal tender, it’s destruction has created an opportunity to create a new thing of value by simply reconstructing its parts.
For more about Evan Wondolowski and his works check out the interview below and visit his website www.theartofe.com.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
A curious provocateur.
Whom do you look up to?
The list is innumerable. In terms of art, I’m a huge fan of Banksy which is a bit odd in terms of the question because its someone (or a group) that I have never met, have no idea who they actually are, and with all likelihood, I’ll never know. I think that’s part of what makes the work so powerful.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
Jean-Francois Allaux, my illustration professor at university has to be the biggest single influence on my work. He’s a wonderful man and brilliant illustrator. He taught me that the concept should always come before technique. Today, no one cares anymore if you can draw a photorealist portrait, or paint a great still life. It’s about storytelling. To capture people’s attention you need to surprise them, show them something they’ve never seen before, or help them see the world with a new perspective.
How did your art career start?
I started my career making regular spot illustrations for a Libertarian think tank. From there I worked on some low key book projects and worked to develop my own clothing company. A few years after that I found my way into a great company working as an Art Director and Graphic Faciliator.
What was your favourite project and why?
My ‘Made of Money’ series is my favorite. It’s the first time I’ve actually felt like I developed a style all my own.
Quotes and Wisdoms
How do you define creativity?
I think creativity is the re-purposing and recombining of other people’s ideas to show a new perspective.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as an artist?
Just surviving off your art is the biggest hurdle for anyone starting out. Right out of college I moved to Chicago with next to no savings and the intent to survive only off my work. I made spots for next to no money, but managed to avoid waiting tables or some other ‘real job’ to make ends meet. Eventually I got a call to do an Op-Ed for the New York times and I knew it was all worth it.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
‘Banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies’ – Thomas Jefferson.
I don’t have a personal motto per se, but I’ve always prescribed to the Greek principle of Arete. It’s the act of living up to one’s full potential.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Find a passion and run with it. You can’t succeed if you’re doing work that you’re not passionate about.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
I wish I knew (or accepted) that politics is all a farce. I spent a lot of time getting worked up about shit that I had no way to influence.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for art?
Nope. I hope the passion never dies.
All images © Evan Wondolowski