Time is Money: Portraits of Opportunity Cost
Time is Money: Portraits of Opportunity Cost is a 2014 conceptual drawing project with a installation as its final exhibition format. The project reframes the debate about wages and taxation in the United States by presenting salaries of top CEOs (based on the 2014 Forbes Top 100 CEO Salaries listing) in terms of how many minutes it takes a given CEO (working 24 hours per day, 7 days per week) to earn the annual salary of a minimum wage worker ($15,080 - calculated at the 2014 federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year).
Each drawing contains a portion of a circle with 360 degrees representing one hour. The portion of the circle which is shown represents what portion of one hour was needed for that CEO to make $15,080. For example, if the drawing has approximately one quarter of a full circle shown, that CEO earns a minimum wage worker's annual salary every 15 minutes, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
While the shape was chosen for its similarity to a pie chart, the color red was chosen as symbolic of "being in the red," or taking a loss, in financial terms. Each "chart" was drawn in a pointillist style using a 0.13mm technical pen to represent the long, tedious, repetitive labor associated with most minimum wage tasks. Each drawing was created on Twinrocker "Savings and Loan" paper, which contains de-circulated US currency that was shredded by the US Treasury. When the paper was first introduced, it required a legal battle in order to be sold. Twinrocker paper is handcrafted in Brookston, Indiana.
The series consists of 49 drawings measuring 5x7 inches. The number 49 was selected due to it being a perfect square and to convey the sense of being one short of a more even outcome. The installation consists of a 9x9 drawing rectangular grid and a list naming the CEOs and their companies.