A couple of weeks ago, I had the great opportunity to photograph the exquisite “Half Dollar/ Butterfly Chair”, created by Johnny Swing. He also played the role of my very own muse for the evening.
Sitting in the lobby of the ever so elegant Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA., The Butterfly Chair sits prominently. It is said to be admired by all guests who enter this glamorous art-filled room.
I, myself, admired every curve on this masterpiece. It is constructed of 1,500 US half dollars, and held together with 7,000 welds. This was the third design the artist attempted in 1995, and was finished in 2011.
I was so intrigued by the uniqueness of this piece, and was very flattered to have been given the opportunity to photograph it’s beauty. I thought about the history each half dollar coin had accumulated before all being connected into one mesmerizing mass. The artist also used a Spaniard half dollar coin that you can find in the top center of the chair. Although the aroma that circulating coins tend to have was wiped away by the very recent cleaning of the chair, you can glide your hand across the chair and feel that cold familiar sensation that every coin has while being held. I couldn’t help but to wonder what was going through the mind of the artist as he painstakingly welded every coin together.
His essence will forever be among each coin and connection.
“With furniture, I’m making something you can look at, and if you want to go further you can touch it, and if you want to go further, you can sit on it. By sitting on it, you’re having a shared experience with me and my work.” – Johnny Swing
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