Are you a master of pop culture? Can you name random characters from a movie, fast food mascots, great artists and rock and roll legends? If the answer to that is “Yes!,” then you’ll enjoy these currency manipulations by James Charles. Going on now till June 4, 2011, Charles is showing an exhibition with fellow artist Akira Beard at the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco. Called American Iconomics, it asked the artists to fixate on the idea of the "contemporary American icon."
Today, we present to you a selection of Charles’ clever work. From the gallery:
"As of last year, artist James Charles has been engrossed in an interesting new project; small in scale…but large in depth. He began drawing on dollar bills, for the sake of his own amusement; crudely altering the presidents' faces to become monsters, celebrities, etc. After accidentally spending a few of his early pieces, James decided to stop carrying them in his wallet, and started putting them inside of a magazine for safe-keeping. The magazine folder eventually became a large scrapbook, showcasing bills of all denominations. He found ink and materials to match perfectly what the U.S. Mint uses on the bank notes, and began to experiment with ways to alter the font and script along the bottom of the bills. It became the perfect way for James to inject an additional layer of wit.
“Altering currency in this way also poses questions regarding the true value of paper bills, something made with seemingly insignificant materials – that somehow fuels our country's evershifting economy, and ultimately impacts living conditions around the globe. James has put a wrench in the recirculation process by claiming his role as an artist, and declaring these specific bills are not currency, but art objects.”
Like it mentions above, notice the script along the bottom of the bills. Sometimes it’ll just spell out the person’s name but, every so often, you’ll receive a witty clue.