Justine Smith was born in Somerset in England and undertook her artistic education in London where she currently lives and works. Paper has always been the primary material in Smith’s work and in 1998 she began to create collages using banknotes. Smith has always been fascinated with the power that money holds in both physical and ethereal forms and she cleverly positions each bank note to highlight its own political, social and commercial features. She is greatly interested in money as a conduit of power and in the value systems with which we surround it and her series of “Money Maps”, the first of which was created in 2005, look deeply into the concept of money and how it touches almost every aspect of our lives.
The “Money Maps” are made initially as collages – hand drawn and traced and cut from real bank notes, often taking many months to complete. Through using international banknotes from each country depicted, Smith exploits the physical beauty of the notes through their colour, patterns and juxtapositions.Smith’s 2005 “Money Map of the World” was a collage of the world map in which every country is represented on the map by its individual currency, including the smallest island State or Territory. In her own words, Smith describes, “A banknote can be seen as a little piece of propaganda, a cipher portraying specific aspects of a given state. In my work I appropriate these images and re-contextualize them to my own ends.” By using banknotes the value systems that surround our idea of money are brought to the forefront. They present a national identity and an insight into a countries politics, history, religion, economy, and culture.
Other notable works are “Old Europe” and “Euro Europe”, both created in 2007. The former is a collage of old banknotes, each country defined by its unique historical currency, and the later created from euro banknotes, shows the newly formed Eurozone, where all the national borders are gone and the various countries now form a single block.“Money Map of the World – China” is one of Smith’s most recent works and explores the shifting focuses of global finance and power, capturing the present, whilst also looking towards the future. With a sensitivity to today’s political topography, Smith has shifted the received perception of the global layout, positioning Asia at the centre of the work, dominating the composition with its vibrant red bank notes. Smith plays with the scale of the continents, shrinking America, Europe and Africa and pacing them at the extremity of the world map.
Each country is depicted by its own current issue banknote and features several newly issued notes including the redesigned 100 Yuan Chinese banknote, the world’s largest banknote, and also the new Russian 100 Rouble banknote, marking the annexation of the Crimea. The imagery on this particular Russian banknote shows the Swallows Nest castle, a landmark on the Crimean Peninsula, overlooking the Black Sea and on the reverse a depiction of the scuttling of the Russian Fleet in Sevastopol Bay, in defence against an Allied Navy. The images on the banknotes of each country illustrate key aspect of their country’s history, culture, religion and economy and Smith carefully constructs this version of the global map to make each stand out and become instantly recognisable.
This work takes the artist’s ideas and her approach to currency into the 21st Century and the digital age with her incorporation of Bitcoin code on the background of the world map. The continents float against an iridescent sea of printed code. Bitcoin is a non-state controlled digital currency, created and held electronically and powered by its users. As the sea of Smith’s reinvented global map, the Bitcoin code becomes an international currency spreading, or trading, across different geographies, forming a global currency and posing the question of whether the traditional beauty and patriotic identity of each currency is still needed. The result is a politically charged, and yet strikingly beautiful map, which provides a powerful image of today’s world. A nuanced comment on the changing world order, rendered in painstaking detail, “Money Map of the World – China” is beautiful and compelling, a colourful collage of profound implications.Smith has exhibited her work in numerous international galleries and museums and is featured in public museum collections including The British Museum, The British Council, The British Library and the UK Government Art Collection along with many international corporations, financial institutions and private collections.
Solo Exhibitions2018 History in the Making, Brook Gallery, Devon2017 Open Studio Moniker Art Fair, The Truman Brewery, London2016 Open Studio Moniker Art Fair, The Truman Brewery, London2015 A Matter of Belief, 15 Bateman Street, LondonCurrency & Cartography, 10 years of Making Maps, The Map House, LondonJustine Smith Studio Pop Up – The Cornershop, Clerkenwell Green, London2011 The Way of the Gun, Waterhouse & Dodd, LondonRise and Fall: Illusions and Delusions, Waterhouse & Dodd, New York, USA2010 Rise and Fall: Illusions and Delusions, Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami, USAA Bigger Bang, Chelsea Arts Club, London2007 Empires of the Sum, The Air Gallery, London2005 Purchasing Power, Ryder Street Gallery, London2002 New Work, Charlotte Street Gallery, LondonNew Work, The Chapel Gallery, Plympton, Devon2000 The Children of Dog, Charlotte Street gallery, LondonSelected Group Exhibitions2018 The London Art Fair, BDC, TAG Fine Arts, LondonFar From the Madding Crowd. The Auction Collective, Menier Gallery, London2017 Art $ Currency: The Artistic Reinterpretation of Cash & Coins, LCD Gallery, Houston The Collective, The House of St Barnabas, LondonHot Tint, Foss Fine Art, LondonThe London Art Fair, BDC TAG Fine Arts, LondonAAF New York, TAG Fine Arts, NYCLondon Art Fair, BDC, TAG Fine Arts, LondonLondon Original Print Fair, Royal AcademyAAF HK, TAG Fine Arts, Hong Kong2016 Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line. The British Library, LondonThe Christmas Show. Long & Ryle, LondonThe London Art Fair, BDC TAG Fine Arts, LondonAAF New York, TAG Fine Arts, NYCLondon Art Fair, BDC, TAG Fine Arts, LondonLondon Original Print Fair, Royal AcademyAAF HK, TAG Fine Arts, Hong Kong2015 Triple X. Moniker Projects/Jealous Gallery, LondonIgnis Fatuus, Mehtabell Projects, Lights of Soho, LondonThe Forest of Possibility, Abbey Walk Gallery, GrimsbyGroup Show GX Gallery, London2014 Show Me The Money: The Image of Finance, 1700 to the Present – Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, SunderlandLondon Original Print Fair, Royal AcademyEdition # 1, Al Fursiya, Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaLondon Art Fair, BDC, TAG Fine Arts, London ART 14, TAG Fine Arts, Olympia, London AAF Battersea, TAG Fine Arts, LondonAAF HK, TAG Fine Arts, Hong KongLondon Original Print Fair, TAG Fine Arts, Royal Academy, London2013 Edition #, Edge of Arabia Gallery, London Strangest Dream, Brook St Gallery, DevonAAF Singapore, TAG Fine Arts, SingaporeAAF Hong Kong, TAG Fine Arts, Hong KongAAF Battersea, TAG Fine Arts, LondonWonderworks, Cat St Gallery, Hong KongThirty Pieces of Silver, Money and Art – Sammlung Haupt Collection, BerlinMoney, Money, Money, Kunstforum, Halle, GermanyThe London Original Print Fair, RAC, LondonThe First Cut, Djanogly Gallery, NottinghamThe First Cut, Sea City Museum, SouthamptonCurrency X-change, Hunt Gallery of Webster University, St Louis, USAMoniker Art Fair, TAG Fine Arts, The Old Truman Brewery, LondonArt Party Conference, The Spa, ScarboroughResponsibility, Voegele Kultur Zentrum, Zurich, SwitzerlandThe London Original Print Fair, RCA, LondonLove Me Tender. Bellevue Arts Museum, WA, USAThe London Art Fair. BDC, Tag Fine Arts, London2012 The Original Print Show, Waterhouse and Dodd, LondonAAF Singapore, Singapore Bubbles & Bankruptcy, The British Museum, London Abu Dhabi Art,Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi, UAE Multiplied Art Fair, Christies, London The First Cut, Manchester City Gallery, Manchester20/21 British Art Fair, RCA, John Iddon Fine Art, LondonThis is Britain, Opus Fine Art, Stow on the WoldScope Basel, Waterhouse & Dodd, SwitzerlandThe Golden Cage, KunstBuro, Berlin’15’, Metropolis Art, BournemouthGrand Designs, The 02, Tag Fine Arts, LondonThe London Original Print Fair, Royal Academy, Tag Fine Art, LondonThe Art of Money, Pataka Museum of Arts & Cultures, New ZealandArt Palm Beach, Waterhouse & Dodd, Palm Beach, USAArt Wynwood, Waterhouse & Dodd, Miami, USAThe London Art Fair, BDC, Tag Fine Art, London20/21 International Art Fair, RCA, John Iddon Fine Arts, London2011 30 Pieces of Silver, Art & Money. Halle am Wasser, BerlinThe Art of Mapping, Tag Fine Art, The Air Gallery, LondonArt Abu Dhabi, Waterhouse & Dodd, UAEScope Miami, Waterhouse & Dodd, USAArt London, Royal Hospital, John Iddon Fine Arts, LondonArt, Money and Dangerous Liaisons, Monnaie de Paris, OnlineBuds, Blooms and Berries: Plaints in Science, Art and Culture, Everhart Museum,Scranton, PA, USABite, The Mall Galleries, LondonScope Basel Art Fair, Waterhouse & Dodd, SwitzerlandThe London Original Print Fair, Tag Fine Arts, Royal Academy of Art, LondonAAF New York, Tag Fine Arts, NY2010 Art Miami 2010, Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, MiamiAbu Dhabi Art, Waterhouse & Dodd, UAECork Street Open Exhibition, The Gallery, Cork Street, LondonInaugral Exhibition, Metropolis Art, BournemouthThe London Art Fair, CCA Galleries, London20/21 International Art Fair, John Iddon Fine Art, London2009 Cut & Fold – The Art of Paper, New Brewery Arts, CirencesterArt London, John Iddon Fine Art, LondonScope Art Fair, Opus art Gallery, MiamiCash Flow, White Trash Contemporary, Hamburg Bridge Art Fair, Opus Gallery, New York 20/21 British Art Fair, John Iddon, London Coriander Studio Prints, Innocent Fine Art, Bristol2008 Kounter Kulture, Truman Brewery, LondonIt’s The Money, Stupid, Sherry Frumkin Gallery, Santa MonicaCoriander Studio Prints, Jill George Gallery, LondonScope Art Fair, Light Contemporary, LondonArt London, John Iddon, London20/21 British Art Fair, John Iddon, LondonWhitespace Gallery, Totnes, Devon2007 Wunderkammer, Bluecoat Display Centre, LiverpoolArt for Life, Christies, London Art London, John Iddon, London20/21 British Art Fair, John Iddon, LondonForm, John Iddon, LondonLondon Art Fair, CCA Galleries, LondonGuitartown, 02 Centre, LondonCoriander Studio Prints, Jill George Gallery, London2006 Artists of Mass Distraction, Opus gallery, NewcastleMaster Printmakers, Royal Automobile Club, LondonEyestorm Gallery, LondonArt for Life, Christies, London Scope Art Fair, Light Contemporary, LondonArt London, John Iddon, London2005 Art Palm Beach, Russeck Gallery, USAArt Miami, Russeck Gallery, USA The ART Show, Menier Chocolate Factory, London2004 The London Art fair, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, LondonArt Miami, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, USA2003 Mystery Postcards for Macmillan Cancer, Tate Britain, LondonToronto Art Fair, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, Canada20/21 British Art Fair, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, LondonArt London, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, LondonArt Miami, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, USAArt Palm Beach, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, USAArt 2003, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London2002 British Art Fair, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, LondonArt London, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, LondonArt 2002, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London2000 Transformations, Pitt Rivers Museum, OxfordThe Flower Show, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, LondonHoly Cow – The Second Coming, Clapham Art Gallery, London1999 Reclaimed (British Council exhibition, touring internationally until 2003), Townhouse Gallery, CairoHoly Cow, Clapham Art Gallery, LondonHumans Being, New Ashgate Gallery, FarnhamBrewery Arts Centre, Cirencester