My Bill is an illustration of a money bill created by compiling drawings of every item I spent money on in the past month. I believe most people like me are very lackadaisical when it comes to being aware of where their money goes. With the convenience of today’s vast selection of modern financial management technologies (like debit cards, credit cards, mobile applications, transport cards and auto-repay systems), we become less wary with the amount of money we use because it is divided between so many platforms. It is not like the old days when the cash we physically had with us is all we had to use, and we would need to visit a bank to withdraw more. My Bill is literally a money bill created by me, but also the bill for the items I must pay. So I wanted to create a piece I would have fun creating while making a statement on how we abuse the power of technology in a way, and how new payment options have influenced our spending habits. Although My Bill is an autobiographical piece, it is relatable(especially to students) and applicable to anyone who may also possess similar indulgent characteristics and lenient financial awareness. The audience leaves with the option of taking one of the normal-sized versions of the bill as a reminder of the experience and to spend with prudence and discretion!
My Bill is data driven illustration installation. Exploring ways to creatively display data sets has been a theme throughout the course. Although my main piece does not incorporate any processing or coding, the data virtualization design aesthetic is similar to many examples explored in class. I believe I presented my idea in a unique way that differs from the mundane graphing techniques commonly used. I ran a simple processing sketch that displays all the items side by side, organized by price for the presentation.
I began developing My Bill by closely document every piece of financial exchange for a month. Things like transportation, food & beverages, gas, products, services, and other purchases. Every item was recorded within my journal accompanied with its receipts (if applicable). In addition, I drew quick sketches of the items as a reminder of how it looks, as well as rough idea of how I want the item to look within Illustrator. During this process, I began creating overall structure of my bill. I examined the details on real bills really closely and tried to emulate some design aspects into my piece. Specifics like ratios and line distances, as well as small details like double borders, frames, signature, faint illustrations, and more. Using Adobe Illustrator’s rulers to setup and ensuring is exactly symmetric was one of the most difficult parts of early production. All the items were drawn freehand with the pencil tool and shape presets. With the direct selection tool, I manipulated the points to create clean and smooth lines, encapsulating the minimalistic appearance I wanted. The overall drawing process was very straightforward because I am proficient with Illustrator. I didn’t run into any problems besides managing the order of the items and deciding where each one goes.
I presented the piece by hanging it onto a large white board. In addition, a table is placed in front of the board to maintain a distance between the viewer and the artwork. On the table laid hundreds of regular sized bills people cane take away, along with the journal and a laptop running the processing sketch that displays all the items in order of pricing.
Although it has been a while since I played around with Illustrator so I felt rusty at first, everything came out exactly the way I wanted. Ignoring the fact that my wallet got seriously injured within the process, I am very happy and proud of how My Bill turned out.