cubes+hoses wallet, 2010. Limited Edition of 100.
People are saying that the recession is over, but I think its fair to say that despite the small upturn, most of us are not yet feeling anywhere near secure and it will probably be a long time before things get back to normal, whatever that’s supposed to be. Irrespective of where the art market is at and whether the embattled Lehman Brothers will raise enough money for their creditors in their upcoming auction, jobs are still scarce and the taste of desperation remains fresh in the mouths of many who have not yet adopted quasi self sufficient life styles. Enter www.isnotbroke.com, the latest project by Transit Antenna founder and Artlurker contributor, Bob Snead whose characteristically worn and appropriately grubby fingers can be seen above.
The website functions as an online shop and forum, complete with a personal blog and lengthy features on each piece. The product, recession proof wallets. What? Handmade wallets with a twenty dollar bill printed inside. Of course this doesn’t actually prevent you from being broke, wont put food on your table and will more than likely will make you feel worse not better after you kick yourself for not remembering that you bought a recession proof wallet when the excitement of discovering previously unknown funds subsides, but, if the idea doesn’t strike you as particularly clever perhaps this will: each wallet is adorned with a design based on compelling stories of financial resilience.
Crouching Tiger, Knitting Dragon, 2010. Each wallet is handmade in the USA with a hand printed exterior, 4 credit card slots, ID window slot, two hidden pockets (for your business cards), and twenty bucks printed in the bill slot. Full size of the wallet is 8.5”x3.5” and folded 4.25”x3.5”. Developed from a mix of durable canvas, vinyl, and nylon. Limited Edition of 100.
The website says: “Is Not Broke Recession Proof Wallet, Co. was formed by artist Bob Snead to act as a window into the worst economy of our lifetime through wallets and individual stories of survival. The concept of a Recession Proof Wallet is simple. On the interior, a fabric twenty dollar bill is printed permanently inside so the owner always has money. Then the exterior is used to tell a story through abstracted forms, patterns, or illustrations. Each wallet is designed by a selected artist and meticulously hand crafted, usually by Bob himself, in the USA.”
Bob, who recently made the brave move to New Orleans on the promise of jobs that have yet to materialize has been busy and the www.isnotbroke.com franchise, which began just a few months ago, now totals nine whole wallets, which considering the amount of bespoke handicraft and experiential content poured into each design is impressive, or at least I think so. Ranging from stories recounting experiences such as living in a vegetable oil powered bus for two years to traveling to Geneva to paint murals inspired by the Cern Particle Collider, these limited edition wallets, each an ironic symbol of resourcefulness in dark times and a work of art of themselves, tell stories that many of us can identify with.
The Suit is the second in the ongoing Upturn series. The goal of each Upturn wallet is to depict with abstracted forms, patterns, or illustrations a story of survival which is hand picked from submissions to the free wallet program.
Tragically for our readers this post comes just a few days too late as www.isnotbroke.com’s first sale has just finished, but at least now Bob and his elves can perhaps enjoy some top-rate windfalls from contentious Miamians looking to buy into some peace of mind. And if you’re really hard up, be sure to check out the free section in which fans are invited to submit stories that if liked will be made up into limited edition wallets as part of the Upturn Series (above).
…and neither can you be! (?)
Please visit www.isnotbroke.com for more information and sales.
This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.