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V14 2011 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 17, April 24, 2011, Article 25

VERMONT ARTIST CREATES FURNITURE USING COINS

An E-Sylum readers forwarded this article about a Vermont artist who makes furniture from coins. He adds: " Coins were harmed in the making of this furniture." -Editor

If a Vermonter has $100,000, he might buy a tractor, says artist Johnny Swing. Vermonters with spare change are unlikely to plunk down $100,000 – or more — on a couch made of nickels.

“I have no work in Vermont,” Swing, 49, said.

But 23 people have purchased the nickel couches Swing designs and makes in his Brookline studio, he said. Hurry, if you want to buy one: the price is going up!

Swing sold his first nickel couch in 2001, for $12,000. The most recent sale of a similar piece was two years ago, for $105,000, he said. At Knoedler and Company, a New York gallery, the piece is for sale for $140,000.

Swing’s couch is made with 6,800 nickels, and has 35,000 welds. It weighs 130 pounds and takes about three months to build, he said.

“I’m perfectly happy to be considered a designer,” Swing said. “I don’t mind if people refer to the work as furniture — as long as people respond to them and relate to them. I don’t want to be pompous by calling them art. If people need to create access by calling them furniture, that’s fine.”

Using coins to create art began in New York City, where Swing made sculpture and installation art. His work included street-sign sculpture in which he welded coins to his pieces, and then bolted the sculpture to No Parking signs.

“Being a naturally cheap Wasp Yankee, we like to keep things around. We’re thrifty people,” Swing said. “Pennies are fairly inexpensive material. You can’t buy a metal washer, let alone copper of that diameter and thickness, for at all close to that price.”

He made a chair of pennies. Then he designed one using nickels. “Whoa!,” he thought. “Lemme see if I go broke making them out of nickels. I didn’t.”

These days, Swing purchases his material from the bank in nearby Newfane. He makes a variety of designs, using nickels, quarters, half-dollars and dollar coins.

To read the complete article, see: Brookline artist uses coins to create work (www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20110417/ARTS04/110415025/
0/LIVING01/Brookline-artist-uses-coins-create-work)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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