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workshops, SanFrancisco 07 2004, finalresult

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Piper Murakami - messages on One Dollar Bills

"Washington says: Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. " "Washington says: Occupants of public offices love power and are prone to abuse it."

I collect money with messages hand written or stamped on them. Sometimes there are arty scribbles on money (was the previous "owner" inspired or bored?). My favorite piece in the small collection says "fake money" and is signed by Duane Michaels, the photographer.

So, here I am in the Underware Workshop getting an opportunity to do my thing on money. But, what message? Some of my thoughts and ideas:

The federal deficit (it goes up 1.68 billion dollars a day)
Don't vote for Bush (your vote has an impact on people globally)
Some wise quote about money ("When money speaks, the truth keeps silent")
Consumerism (not a sustainable endeavor)
Giving money to the poor (reality: it doesn't solve the bigger problem)

I settled on George Washington (1732-1799) after a discussion with one of the many participants in the workshop. I googled Washington and found plenty of great quotes. Many of them were too long to use as a money message: "I have always considered marriage as the most interesting event of one's life, the foundation of happiness or misery" or "The government of the United States is not, in any case, founded on the Christian religion."

The name of my font I created in the workshop is called George. It is based on the lower case of the caps on the dollar bill. After spending one whole day's worth of time happily sketching ideas for the font I realized that there was no way in heck that I could create all of the lower cases in a day. Out of desperation, I took the cheating option (it was better than dropping out). I found the font on the Web; traced my 18 letters I needed in Illustrator; tweaked, kerned, and created the font in FontLab and bingo. The self-ink stamper took half an hour to produce and cost $50 bucks, each. Yikes. At least I know I can get 50,000 impressions with one stamper.

So in spite of it all, I had a blast working on this project. It was worth all of the late nights. And I got an opportunity to say something.

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