James Charles, pop culture and dollar bills. A strange combination for an astonishing result. The artist transforms traditional portraits on bills into random movie characters, singers and artists. He only uses ink and paint to trace and re-write on the bills. The result is witty and fun to watch.
It all started out with random doodling on a couple of dollar bills. James Charles was not even aware of the treasure he was carrying in his pocket as he was spending the bills. He therefore decided to store them in a magazine, using it as a safe. The more he drew, the larger the magazine got.
The mutant bills have their president’s faces changed into male and female pop culture inspired characters. James Charles added a script below the faces, naming or giving hints in case we miss them.
Yoda, Einstein, Mister T, Willy Wonka, Princess Leia, Spock, Iggy Pop, Kiss and many others are altering the seriousness of the symbolic of money.
The artist drew on 5 dollar bills as well as on 100 dollar bills. The value of money is put aside here to focus on the true meaning of a paper bill components: paper and ink. So little and meaningless elements for such tremendous stakes. By associating easy recognizable pop features, James Charles is aiming to reach the mass. He has done it again more recently in Monstro Eyegasmica, a mix of popular iconographies such as The Kiss by Klimt or the use of sarcasm with some of the Disney characters. A series of paintings and collages blending pop culture and vibrant colored characters.
James Charles’ Monstro Eyegasmica series will be displayed at the Joseph Gross Gallery in New York until November 25th 2015.