Money Issue

It’s all about the money… this posting, anyway. I received a suggestion recently that, in view of the dim economic outlook, I might roll out some of the many numismatically-themed (and other assorted) artworks I have produced. (all illustrations by Kevin Sprouls, oil painting by Timothy Barr.)

faux currency promoting commercial real estate

(Faux-currency design for real estate offering, 2006)

Let’s face it: these are hard times. Since the markets have gone wobbly, everybody’s business seems to be off. Having been through a few rough patches myself, I can relate to the suffering. Nothing’s more paralyzing than being out of work with mounting debts. I’m sure it’s been the cause of many marital problems, not to mention break-ups. People are losing their homes, for Pete’s sake.

…Heartbreaking.

I spoke on the telephone recently to my old college room-mate (and celebrated Luminist painter), Tim Barr. This guy can paint!
 Tim had a very successful show in September, and I believe made his nut for the year. His philosophy: “I just jump from stone to stone, if I don’t make it one year, I can work out of a trailer. We were all poor art students once, and we were happy.” Now there is wisdom for you.


from the Chicago Tribune

April, 2004
I don’t envy (or admire) the guys at the top right now who are trying to keep the lid on things. You’ve got to feel a little sad for these struggling politicos. Mr. Bernenke then (Forbes Magazine, 12/2006) and now (Satirical Portrait for Radar Magazine, 9/2008— unpublished, due to bankruptcy)… what a difference a year makes!

Say, speaking of “then”, remember that fabulous, plush, luxurious tax-stimulus package of a few years back?

I think my household scored a whopping $600! Man, we lived off of that check for what seemed like a lifetime (ok, ok, I’m taking my tongue out of my cheek now). Something tells me this maneuver didn’t quite cut it. I imagine that, as those checks were being cut, the sub-prime mortgages were being sliced, diced and “bundled” into the worldwide economic markets. So, now we’re in “bailout” mode.

It would be nice to have a little justice, and see some heads roll in this good old U.S.A. For too long, the robber-barons and their associates in D.C. have colluded to strip the wealth out of the middle and working classes.

(Wall Street Journal, mid-1980’s)

My neighbor, Tony, at the Jersey Shore, where I go off to in the summertime, told me this story: “Listen, Kevin. My father used to tell me: ‘Tony, there’s this pie… ‘ (makes round shape with extended arms) ‘the (fill in blank here, plural) want to give you and me a little slice of the pie. The (fill in blank here, plural) don’t even want to give you the crumbs!’ (here giving a flick of the fingers)”. I like those really clearcut explanations. Memorable because true. Lots of pain is being shared, I am sorry to say. I just found out about massive layoffs at Citigroup…

 It’s what comes of having too much faith in money I suppose…

(currency detail “Omnicient Eye” from the back of the U.S. greenback. Applied as a super-graphic to the top of the pyramidal Luxor casino, Las Vegas 3/2008)

The mythical, Wall Street beasts are contending for supremacy!

(left, illustration for NRDC fundraising dinner, mid-1980’s)

I think the author Ravi Batra has a good handle on it. I’m halfway through his book on The Coming Golden Age, and it makes eminent sense to me. Apparently, Ravi’s not a big fan of Mr. Greenspan. As for me, this is mostly inside baseball, as I find that trying to understand economic principles is a Sisyphean task, so I don’t often fever my brow with it. My key principal, however, concerns the so-called “trickle down” economic theory: whatever its logic, it is an utterly unfair proposition, rewarding the wealthy at the expense of everyone else— totally Un-American!

for Sports Illustrated

(for Sports Illustrated, 2004)

I try not to worry about money too much. My wife says that, on one of our first dates, I told her, “It’s made round to go around.” That put in the hook!

(Meijer Stores, Dollar Deals sale, late 1990’s)

Occasionally, we play with money. The Mrs. and I will go to Atlantic City, if we are really bored and suffering from cabin-fever. The deal is we each get twenty bucks and see how long we can go with it. Usually an hour and it’s all over at the one-armed bandits.

for a (not used) Time Magazine cover

(for a not used Newsweek Magazine cover) Sorry, George! Not my idea… (I believe the concept was ‘Arab influence over the American economy’, circa. 11/01)

The above images of Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington, were produced as part of a billboard ad and otherwise general promotional vehicle for a Las Vegas casino corporation. Abe doesn’t look too happy about it.

In closing, let me wish us all a good financial outcome. I hope, expect, and pray that President-elect Obama will have the wisdom to orchestrate a way for us into a new “Golden Age”.

One thought on “Money Issue

  1. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Citigroup ‘s chairman is hinting the banking giant will announce more job cuts Monday, and isn’t ruling out the possibility executives will follow peers at Goldman Sachs and forgo bonuses. Various reports

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