Heidi Klum may have the final word on Project Runway, “One day you’re in, and one day you’re out’, but Johnny Swing can make it rain German models by putting a sexy spin on penny-pinching.
Money is nothing and everything but could it be… recyclable? Instead of throwing around cash, Johnny actually welds money together to make furniture. Abandoned pennies were his go-to material for his first junk-furniture project. Money isn’t trash to most people but Swing redfines the world through his own vocabulary.
Project Runway Challenge: ‘Make a dress out of car parts’
As Tim Gunn’s motto goes, “make it work”. Whether it is trash bags or candy wrappers, possibilities are endless when it comes to fashion so why should it end there? Jay-Z is sure to be a guest judge on an episode of ‘Make me furniture out of money’ while leaving contestants in a room full of cheddar.
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Swing used pennies for his first couch but to his disappointment found that those made after 1981 were made out of zinc which disintegrated after welding them together. Perseverving, Swing tried nickels and experienced incredible success with the material. The way Swing sees it, rather than it being 5 cents of monetary tokens, nickels become raw material that is malleable towards infinite outcomes. According to his imagination, being embraced by “money” is a more peaceful state of mind than being enslaved to it.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and it takes a trip to the bank to make a couch that eats up at least 1,500 coins. So far Swing has made about 20 nickel couches. One couch can use up to 7,000 Jefferson coins which adds up to approximate $350. Pretty cheap, for a one-of-a-kind handcrafted avante-garde piece? Think again, the labor and creativity that goes into the construction adds up to about 300 hours of work and 35,000 welds that hold it all together.
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Swing surgically removes the conventional concept of money and implants in it a new meaning. Some may criticize him for defacing money. How could he, the lowly artist challenge the fundamental token of belief on which all organized institutions operate around? Perhaps this is why Swing has a tint of bad-boy like a graffiti artist. Money’s primary importance lies in its ideology and our belief in it, rather than the object itself. Swing gives us a new landscape in which we can really contemplate the values we adhere to by default.
What would it feel like to sit on money instead of being imprisoned by our schizophrenia towards it? Money can be cannibalistic but innovation is limitless.