Coins and Curves

Johnny Swing's Fortune Cookie

Master welder Johnny Swing is fascinated by curves and biomorphic forms. With a boundless creative energy, Swing combines this fascination and common materials into voluptuous, shimmering functional works that blur the boundaries between craft and fine art. Fascinated by metal from a young age, he has always seen the hard, durable material as fluid and liquid and brings these attributes to life in his creations. Fortune Cookie is a perfect example of his mastery over his chosen medium; thousands of coins are joined by tens of thousands of welds, forming a sweeping, curving masterpiece.

A recent New York Times feature on the artist explains that he only makes a handful of pieces per year, each requiring hundreds of hours of metalworking often spread out over months. With a restlessly creative mind and seemingly unending depths of energy, Swing says he is “kind of manic and [loves] to bounce between two and three different things going at once” and he views coins as “beautiful little sculptures in their own right.” The individual, unknowable histories of each coin, having passed through countless hands and traveling to unknown locales, adds an interesting layer of meaning and mystery to his work.

I have made objects of refulgence, with money—the material that makes the world go round. These, flat hard shiny coins...which have been touched, hoarded, traveled, and traded for goods and services are now released from their original burden.

Johnny Swing