The Penny Project

Lincoln piece number three. One thousand one hundred pennies (each different). It’s like my Dallas, Texas – November 22, 1963 painting in that it becomes ‘clearer’ when viewed from a distance (step back a few feet for Abe-ification). I wanted more P.P.I. (pennies per inch), but my collection is limited to eleven bucks and change. There’s been a significant curves adjustment on most coins (full disclosure), and I worked in quadrants to keep my computer from exploding (original is approx. 22.75″x 22.5″). And each penny is ‘heads-up’. Naturally.

About this image: flatbed scan(s), digitally combined and lightly modified


106 thoughts on “The Penny Project

    • Thank you very much, Laura!
      After I started this I ‘Googled’ it and discovered many other examples. A lot of those were done by physically attaching coins to a surface, though. And having that artifact would be great… although staying digital gave me much more latitude in tone and adjusting tones.

    • I’m happy you thought it was interesting, Cocomino!
      I have been making a few things that are somewhat related to this recently…
      it seems like sometimes one idea leads to other similar ones!

  1. One year, back in the 80’s, my mother got started on Christmas for the following year right after Christmas. She has decided she was going to give, my sister, my cousin, and myself $100.00. So she went to the store and bought silver, gold, red, and green aluminim foil while it was still available from that Christmas. she then went to the bank and got herself $300.00 in pennies. Then each night while she would watch Tv she would individually wrap each and every penny. She did get it done by Chritams and it was a hoot. Talk about thinking twice to spend any of the $100.00…lol It was a real pain to unwrap even a dollars worth. I had foiled wrapped pennies around for years.
    Love the artwork, Bob!

    • Yup.. my output is 100% digital. After starting this I ‘Googled’ it to see how often this sort of thing is done, and I did find quite a few pieces where people physically mounted coins to a substrate (but I definitely didn’t do that here – all these pennies are back in the jar already). Still took me a while, though. Although what doesn’t, really?!

  2. A penny for your thoughts, SIG! (Couldn’t help myself.)

    Lincoln would be proud!

    Next up, FDR out of dimes. 🙂

    • Been there! Done that! I’m sure it’ll happen to me again shortly!
      Thanks so much! When I’m working on these things I spend quite a bit of time hoping I’m not the only one who things it might be kinda interesting! 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh!!! The time and energy spent to create this piece … how long did it take, SIG? And then, as you said to Bearman, you dumped the coins back in the bank? Nooooooooo!
    This is so way cool. So way cool.

    • Thank you so very much, Ms. D! I’m SO bad about recording / remembering the time that goes into a project… partially because I tend to work on them over long periods, but most of that has to do with the fact that my memory isn’t exactly the shiniest penny in the bank!
      If I had to guess… maybe… 20-30 hours? Ish? Quite a while, but definetly not my record, by any means.

  4. Beautifully executed. The Canadian government has decided to phase out pennies.Everything will become more expensive, even our thoughts.

    • Eh. It probably sounds like it took more time than it did. Okay, so it did take a long time, but not nearly as long as some of the crazy stuff I’ve put together. Anyway, thank you very, very much, M.P.!

    • Thank you very much, J.G.!
      For the most part it wasn’t as stressful as it looks… a bit time-consuming, but I’m okay with that as long as there is some kind of result in the end. And fortunately I had just cut my hair so there wasn’t much to grab onto, either – which was a nice help, too!

  5. Your patience for artistic uniqueness id fascinating
    SIG and well done on this epic achievement, I like
    this one a lot my great friend 🙂

    Have a superb evening and
    I can’t wait for your next offering 🙂


    • So happy to hear you liked this one, A.G.!
      The whole time I was working on it I was hoping it wouldn’t come across as being too silly… although if it does I guess that’s okay, too! Just having fun with it all is the main thing, I think!
      Thank you so much, Andro! I hope you have a wonderful day!

      • I think that experimentation is
        good for everything SIG and I
        do mean everything 😉 🙂 lol

        Have a wicked evening now 🙂


        • Hahaha… as long as it’s not me attempting culinary experimentation, A.G.! Let me tell you – ‘interesting’ results in that department!

          Thank you very much, Andro! I hope you have a wonderful evening as well, sir!

    • That is very kind! Thank you so much!
      I hadn’t either – until after I started and it occurred to me I should ‘Google’ it and see how many people had already made something like this. Quite a few, it turned out. Oh, well. Still kinda fun, I think.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • No, not at all, Cristina!
      At this scale it is nearly impossible to tell they are pennies (although the image is ‘easier’ to see).
      When I made it I scanned and kept each penny at full-size at high resolution, though, so if I ever to want to print it out big enough to see each penny I can do so, too!
      Thank you so very much, Cristina!

  6. Great piece! Do you mean you scanned each penny individually and then put the picture together on your computer? What does “significant curves adjustment” mean? I know it has to do with bras and girdles in the lingerie world, but what about in the art world?

    • You got it, Peg! I scanned them in groups of 100, then digitally ‘cut them out’ rotated and assembled them. Hahaha… this curves secret isn’t exactly one of Victoria’s. Basically it’s just a way of adjusting the tone / contrast of an image (or part of an image)… so the darkest pennies you see here were made darker than they appeared originally – and the light coins lighter, etc.

  7. Nice art Bob… Now when you say Pennies, what do you mean. Am I to understand that having annoyed the Feds with your 50 dollar bill paintings, you’re trying to upset HM Revenue and Customs too by defacing the Queens coinage? It’ll be The Tower for you (which will save you the normal price of a tourist ticket) 😉

    No, that works really well Bob and I didn’t have to step back to see the picture 🙂

    • Hahaha… oh no! I’ve seen enough episodes of ‘The Tudors’ to know that could be a bad day! Running from the FED and the tower… a very difficult way to get my exercise!
      Thank you very much, Martin! It was a lot of fun (although my legal team has advised me to avoid saying much more than that).

  8. That’s weird. I left another comment here the other day, but it seemed to disappear.

    I think this piece is really neat and very interesting.

    Did you lay out that array of pennies and then photograph them? And then you digitally adjusted the tone/shade of each coin to the right value for its position?

    • I’m sorry very sorry about that! I know how frustrating that can be! Yikes!
      Thank you so much!
      Very close to that – only I used a flatbed scanner rather than my camera to capture their image. And you nailed it, I then ‘cut them out’ arranged them and digitally adjusted tones and shades. And rotated them a bit, too – because I tried to keep them all fairly straight on the scanner, but they looked a bit like they were out to sea!

  9. oh wow, SIG you have really outdone yourself this time. how do you come up with these ideas? penny for your thoughts! 🙂
    but seriously – this is amazing! thanks for sharing!

    • Hmmm… the funny thing is… now I can’t remember what or even when this idea popped into my head. I might have been watching a movie at the time (because we have a giant glass penny container in our living room – so I probably saw that… and then… hmm…)
      Hahaha… thank you very much, P&K!

  10. Wow that is amazing how you’ve done that. I step back & it looks more like a photo. I’m totally impressed. This should be in an art gallery. Brilliant work Mr Ultra-Artistic!!!

    • I’m so happy to hear you liked this one, Mr. M! When I work on these longer projects it takes even longer as I’ve got my fingers crossed they turn out okay! I have a few ideas for some related things I hope to try in the near future, too!

  11. This is a-maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing. One of my co-workers was just telling me about the release of the “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” movie this summer. Naturally, I immediately downloaded the book from my library.

  12. I love your work, your humility, and your humour –though in what order, I don’t know. 🙂 Thanks for doing what you do..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s