Justine Smith Artist Biography
As an artist Justine Smith is interested in the concept of money, and how it touches almost every aspect of our lives. In her art she explores money as a conduit of power and also in the value systems with which we surround it. Through her collages and sculptures she examines our relationship with money in a political, moral and social sense.
Born in Somerset in 1971, Justine Smith moved to London to study at The City and Guilds of London Art School from 1990 to 1993. Occupying a space in Streatham, her studio looks like the hideout of an international bank robber. Through her work, Justine Smith has become somewhat of an expert on the interpretation of bank notes; using only new and un-circulated money.
Focusing on the concept of money and its impact on civilisation, Justine Smith’s distinctive work is paper collage and bank notes in particular. Examining the political and moral implications of our relationship with the monetary system her intricate collages and sculptures exploit the physical beauty of the notes themselves. With the idea that money, in a physical aspect, is only paper, it is the value with which we mentally associate it that makes it so valuable. Such political and social reflections are a hallmark of Justine’s work, but equally, so is the thought that goes into the colour and shape of the pieces, ‘Arab notes are beautiful’. Justine Smith is keen for those who design and make the banknotes to be seen as artists themselves.