Back in my artist heyday (my high
school years), I came up with the idea to make a portrait of Abraham Lincoln
using different shades of pennies. I
started gathering the pennies during high school, and soon had several jars of
pennies for the project.
For some reason
I never got around to assembling the actual picture. But after my mission and while seeing my
family grow, the jars of pennies – used as bookends or decorative nick-knacks around
the house – served as reminders that I should finish the picture.
2009 provided enough incentive. 2009 was
the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth (born on February
12, 1809), and 2009 was the 100th anniversary of the modern penny
(the penny with Lincoln
on the front).
the picture a few weeks ago, and I have attached a photograph of it (although a
photo doesn’t capture its true look due to the shininess of the pennies).
some random facts about the picture:
- Made from 1,638 pennies (1,612
whole pennies and 52 half pennies).
- Each row has 31 and 1 half
- There are 52 rows.
- The pennies are staggered (so
the second row is offset from the first row so each row “fits” into the
neighboring row), resulting in the need to have a half penny on each row.
- There is at least one penny
from each year from 1909 to 2009.
- There is one 1943 steel penny
(lower right-hand corner).
- The US
mint is making 2009 pennies with new designs on the reverse – there are 4
different designs: Birth and Early
Childhood in Kentucky (aka “Log Cabin”),
Formative Years in Indiana (aka “Rail Splitter”), Professional Life in Illinois, and Presidency in Washington, DC. I wanted to use at least one penny with
each reverse design (although all the pennies in the picture only show the
front); but only the first two were available when assembling the picture,
so I’ll swap out two pennies for the other 2009 designs later.
- I tried to find enough dark pennies,
but ended up coloring some pennies (using different methods) to have
enough dark and mid tones.
- The pennies are fastened to a
piece of pressed wood (masonite)
- The pennies were fastened primarily
using contact cement; although I did experiment with gorilla glue and
liquid nails as well.
- The picture is fairly heavy,
and so I will craft a special mechanism to hang it (once I get it framed)