Taking the calling to California

It's high-time I tip-tapped away here and put into context my America trip and share the back story that are the cornerstones of this exciting chapter in my quest for Art with a story in vulnerable glory. Feel free to pop the old kettle on, grab a brew and read on.....

#1 of The California Collection 'Dollar & stripes' (July 2018)

I've had a few private messages lately, most supportive, a couple sarcastic, some celebrating that Block chain = the end of the dollar (I'm excited either way) so it's triggered me to open up a little more, aside from baring my soul on canvas on a daily basis it's good to keep my typing skills on check - tongue out, thumb on spacebar and away I go!

Anyway, Barely 4 weeks after the cards-on-the-table strategy meeting in Madrid, I arrived in California feeling a mixture of excited, apprehensive and blessed....

Summer 2018 : Going Gorilla in California

You see, I had whole heartedly committed to my next body of work : The California Collection to the point of painting per day over 80 consecutive days within the state of California in the summer of 2018*

* hopefully in an enlightened state and work my Dollar snake like story-telling magic in America in the most engaging and vibrant way possible.


' Dude, Just be YOU - we gotta do this' my agent insisted and having studied my Civil Engineering Degree at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in California some 24 years earlier it was time to head back to what I remember as the land of positivity and opportunity.....

My first signed Dollar for Mum : 28/8/1994 ahead of a year at Cal Poly

'Just be yourself' - it couldn't have been a more powerful prompt!

I hadn't realised the significance of signing the $1 bill back in August 1994 (a friend suggested it was good luck if I signed one before I went off to college in America) and there's been a few interesting dollar signings since....

One dollar signing led to a few more....

When Donald Trump signed a $1 & $2 bill for me little did I know how much it propelled me on to explore the rich tapestry of society around the world. Nor did I think he'd really have a chance of becoming the 45th president of America....

When I made it my (Disruptive) business to meet the man himself and get not just a rare $2 bill signed, which I've kept for use in an artwork planned for launch in 2019.....

but a $1 bill that was a major trigger the original artwork Top Trumps showcased in DIFC Dubai in April 2015 then sold some 6 months later....

#1 of Heroe$ & VillainS : Top Trump$

Mixed media & acrylic on canvas (80cm x 90cm) 2015

Featuring a signed Donald Trump $2 bill dated 20.5.14 7 x Top Trump cards from 1977

Meeting Trump didn't only inspire me, it excited me, it challenged me and then when it was a done deal it frightened me! It was the feeling he left me with when I met him, an extreme, a mirage and the result of chasing the $ at all costs. Him and several other faces from the world of 'I'm famous' pushed me on to really explore the dichotomy of wealth, both sides of the coin if you will.

2015 Dubai $ Project : Heroe$ & Villain$

The way he spoke, the presence he had and the sense of entitlement most people in the room had that night really pulled out the Heroe$ & Villain$ collection from me. So much so, a couple of days later I headed down to City Walk site and painted on a Construction workers overalls, live as City Walk in Dubai was being built......

Painting on the Pakistani labourers overall I acquired from him for 1 weeks wages

#15 of Heroe$ & Villain$ was inspired by the construction workers in Dubai and around the world - literally painting a red $ on the overall of Waaaqas, a Pakistani labourer. 

I needed this, really wanted to do this and dig far deeper than I had before - give me more than just the gloss, please!

Guess which experience left me feeling connected, inspired and surrounded by smiling faces?

This contrasting Artwork was the end result as the Construction site visit led to a more free form splatter painting on vibrant colours and sand....

#15 of Heroe$ & VillainS : Blue Overalls, Waqaa$

Acrylic on sand on a blue labourers overall 100cm x 100cm (2015)

I was a Civil Engineer, from learning couple of trades (badly, I am Frank Spencer) to setting out on site through to a Masters degree in California a few hops, steps, jumps and bumps later Art found me with my dollar signing quest at the Golf Club finding my way to Donald Trump when he opened his in Dubai....

Get in the mix - times ticking!

So the dream was to get both of these constrasting original paintings showcased in the heart of money makes the world go round DIFC, Dubai slap-bang next to Top Trump$, quite a contrasting, within the lines artwork in relative terms but gallery-priced at the same $10,000 / AED 36,000 ish none the less, both captured side by side in the far corner of this image :-

Thankfully a buyer spotted both Top Trumps and Construction overalls together and bought both - pretty much unlocking the contrasting key to The Heroes & Villains exhibition....

'Never mind that mate are you buying this one or not - I've just been hit with the F&B bill for tonight*'

*True story.

Here's the gallery funerial version of the opening night:

& the fly on the wall (real) version....


Also showcased were the collaboration with Jordan Belfort, Real wolf of Wallstreet next to Art on an Eat, Drink shirt then DJ Carl Cox work next to the Nepalise 'Iron man' who filled up my car with petrol in Dubai and on it goes.....

Fast forward 3 years and 3 months later : Present day, California

Sometimes in life, what with all its ups and downs, the planet align and when Paul, the Dubai based buyer of both Artworks learned I was California bound he suggested an idea so good you could put a cherry on the top of it....

Lightbulb moments - nicer than sand between your toes in a turquoise sea!

'Jimbo, why not take Trump & Overalls to America - I'm happy to re-sell and it could be well timed to get it over there for your visit....'

Both Artworks are safe and sound in California ready to be re-photographed, showcased and offered into the American market.

California Collection : 1 painting every day for 80 days : Summer 2018

Terrified yet excited by the prospect of both Trump & Overalls artwork being alongside me in America for a second bite at the cherry it drove me on to create a new body of work, The California collection. I'm thankfully at a prolific time of my life so intend to Carpe-the-Diem out of it and crack on producing my most vibrant body of work to date.


So, within 24 hours of arriving in California it was time to stock up on a good few weeks worth of canvas, paints and brushes - these pictures don't paint themselves, you know! It felt right to start the first painting with my take on the American flag....

Dollar and Strips inspired by my setting for the next 3 months but also ice-cream and strawberry sauce - memories of my childhood. A post painting scattering of California sand was also in orderA As I often do, I recording the highlights as they happened on @dollarsandart instagram stories which generated a couple of 'I'd LOVE on of those in a print when you get round to it' enquiries, far earlier than anticipated.

'Come on let's get the balls bouncing' insisted Sean (My energetic American agent) when I shared some of the instagram feed interest (it REALLY is all about engagement by the way)

'You need to do one of your write up story things and get the offering out there to those who are interested' he suggested strongly!

So, I did and here it is : The Rationale behind Dollar & stripes

Painted in celebration of Jim Wheat of dollarsandart arriving in California, in the land of opportunity, the American dream. The single snake-like acrylic dollar, replacing the usual stars whilst powerfully uniting the states with this powerful symbol of energy and prosperity.

The bold blurring of white and red is in recognition of the variety of viewpoints (liberal and conservative) while the scattered sand pays homage to the rich variety of people in the United States from all walks of life, each one of us unique, like grains of sand, weathered by time.

The thin blue line in the work, separates order out of chaos whilst acknowledging the admirable sacrifice the law enforcement community makes day in and day out. Nothing is used more successfully to create chaos and instill order from it than the control of money, placed on the back of the dollar bill in 1933. Bottom left the circle of red, white and blue subtly completes this work reminding us despite our differences, how humanity must work together for the greater good rather than divide and rule.

Dollar and stripes prints now available, limited editions of 52 of A3 and 24'x36' (60cm x 90cm) all signed, U.V sealed and ready to deliver to you right here from the dollarsandart Shopify store.......

               Yes - YES you can buy a limited edition print of this!

Want a piece of affordable art history? Just message me or leave a comment and let's make it happen!

Thanks so much for reading - Now onto the next one! 1 painting per day for 80 days feel free to follow my daily goings-on with Art with a story in vulnerable glory over on Instagram,  The Book of Faces and Pinterest.....

NEXT ARTICLE : California collection highlights : the first couple of weeks


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