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Royi Akavia

Royi Akavia is a native of Israel and now lives in Miami Beach, Florida. His fascination with money, like so many of us, was born out of necessity before it became an artistic expression. The artist's obsession with money resulted from a fire which engulfed his artistic work, his worldly possessions and home. The irony of this tragedy is that it provided Royi with the inspiration for his latest works. Following the fire, Royi returned to his studio to find that the only thing which survived the blaze was a one hundred bill which had been preserved by a bottle of spilled varnish. He used the preserved currency to buy food and shelter.
Today, Royi Akavia creates art with paper money, seeing money as more than just a commodity or a means of exchange. Money has universal significance, history and appreciation. It may vary in size, color and value, but it is - money. He buys paper money from all over the world and uses it to produce new images and address the many issues associated with money. Royi's concept, "he needs money to buy cheap money to paint on the money to get more money."
The series of works that he calls "Faces that make MONEY" combines a collage made of real money with painting, drawing and layers of varnish. On top of the collage, he paints in oil the realistic portraits of contemporary people or outlines of their form. When the layering of MONEY and painting or drawing is complete the work is burned with fire to create a glasslike surface reminiscent of old-world craftsmanship. The modern subjects are people who have MONEY, make MONEY and spend MONEY. The rich and famous from the worlds of finance and fashion and cultural icons are situated atop the faces of world leaders. As he burns the final arrangement, the fire destroys the MONEY and at the same time assists in the creation of art with its own monetary value.