About Charles Davies

Charles Davies has been running money workshops since 2005. He currently lives in the north of Norway. He was a journalist for a few years and has also worked as a consultant. And a teacher. And a gardener. You can read more about the money workshops HERE See a little ten-minute stand-up routine version HERE: And read occasional enlightening thoughts on money HERE

Artists = Bankers = Alchemists (Part 2)

(Part One can be found before the Intermission HERE )

As Dali’s fame increased, his commercial appeal as an artist increased (to the dismay of plenty of art critics) and this increased his ability to ‘write’ money out of thin air.

The culmination of this would be signing thousands of blank sheets of printing paper and canvases, so that they could later be turned into ‘Dali’ paintings by other people. It has been claimed that an ageing Dali was forced to sign blank canvases by his guardians, in order for them to be used after his death. It’s also been suggested he signed literally hundreds of thousands of blank sheets.


“Dali himself frequently admitted he had made enormous sums of money by signing hundreds of quick sketches and lithographs which would then sell for thousands of pounds. He once famously remarked: “Each morning after breakfast I like to start the day by earning $20,000.” (from this article from the Indepent)

Regardless of the exact details of who signed what when, I like to imagine that Dali would have been delighted with this desecration of the artist´s integrity in the name of earning great wads of cash in an instant.

“Liking money like I like it,” said Dali, “is nothing less than mysticism. Money is a glory.”

When asked what he loved most in life, Dali replied, “Money. Le idea of money.”

Of course, Salvador Dali would say all kinds of things… It shouldn´t come as a surprise that a man who´ll take his anteater out for a walk

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Commercial Break




This article will continue after a series of television commercials.
(Part One before the Commercial Break can be found HERE )

Dali appeared in a (fantastic) TV advert for Lanvin chocolate:

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Artists = Bankers = Alchemists (Part one)

Liking money like I like it,” said Dali, “is nothing less than mysticism. Money is a glory.

The two stories I hear most often about artists and money are about Picasso and Salvador Dali.

The Picasso story is that he knocks out a sketch on the back of a napkin in five minutes and asks X thousand pounds for it. The astonished customer says you can´t ask X thousand for five minutes work. Picasso replies that it took him a lifetime to learn how to draw something like that in five minutes.

The Dali story:

…[Dali] was known to take huge parties of friends and students out for dinner and then when the bill came, he would write a check for the entire meal. However, as the waiter watched, Dali would quickly sketch something on the back of his check. Knowing that the restaurant owner would never cash such a valuable piece of art, Dali basically wrote his own money, and cleverly avoided a large dinner bill.” (from Art Experts website)

I like the Dali story best of all.

There are plenty of artists who <<toy with money as a subject matter and as a medium.>> Incorporating money into art can be a short-cut to meaningfulness.

But Dali didn’t just borrow money’s meaningfulness – he short-circuited it. The front of his cheque relies on a huge and intricate banking system in order for it to ´work´. The back of the cheque (where he scribbled his little sketch) trumped the front – and relied only on Dali.

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A short guide to turning money into art.

If you’d like to turn money into art, follow these simple steps and you too can become a money artist.

Firstly, it’s worth remembering that money is a readily available resource for artists. Look in your pockets. If there’s no money there, ask a friend or acquaintance. Most people have at least some money with them all of the time.

Plenty of artists have experimented with money as a subject matter and as a medium. Here are some useful examples for you to follow.

You can cut it up.

Here are three approaches (easy, medium and advanced cutting).

1. The Moth

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