Who Says Artists Don’t Make Money?

February 9, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

The Economist wrote about the life of Steve Boggs:

  • Boggs enjoyed making reproductions of currencies, spending up to ten hours on each note, with subtle modifications that made clear that they weren’t real notes.
  • He paid for goods with the currency. If a seller objected, he’d argue that the amount of time he spent on the reproduction justified the face value of the bill.
  • Usually the currency was rejected anyway. But when it wasn’t he’d ask for a receipt, the change that he was owed, and write on the blank back of the bill the time and place of the transaction.
  • He would give it 24 hours, call one of the collectors of his work, and sell them the receipt and the change for five times the face value of the original bill.
  • The collectors would then try to track down the reproduction and pay thousands of dollars for the art.
  • He paid for more than $1 million worth of goods this way.
  • The Swiss were particularly willing to accept his art in lieu of real money.

Read more about his troubles with the legal system, including the judges who tried to figure out if his bills should be treated like pornography on The Economist.