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 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.
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
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 Bernenke then (Forbes Magazine, 12/2006) and now (Satirical Portrait for Radar Magazine, 9/2008— unpublished, due to bankruptcy)… what a difference a year makes!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…
Â 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 toÂ 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 BatraÂ 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, 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 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”.