James Charles’s Celebratory and Satirical Portraits on Money

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The faces we put on America’s currency say a lot about our cultural values: There are founding fathers (Washington, Jefferson, Franklin) and presidents who led the country through adversity (Lincoln, FDR), along with a few boundary-breaking women (Sacagewea, Susan B. Anthony). In a series of portraits drawn directly on real US bills, James Charles creates remarkably believable currency featuring both pop-culture heroes — Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Frida Kahlo, Joey Ramone — and darker figures — Charles Manson, Willy Wonka and an Oompa-Loompa minion, an aging Captain America who “needs Viagra” — that satire America’s excesses. Click through for a gallery of our favorite portraits from the series, and visit Shooting Gallery to see more.

James Charles, Jimi Hendrix, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 12.5” x 9″ [via Coudal Partners]

James Charles, Man in Black, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 11” x 8″

James Charles, Wonka Corporate Hierarcy, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 12” x 13″

James Charles, Frida Kahlo, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 11” x 7.5″

James Charles, Ace of Spades, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 10” x 13″

James Charles, Gabba Gabba Hey, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 10.5” x 7.5″

James Charles, Needs Viagra, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 11” x 7.5″

James Charles, Chicken Choker, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 10” x 6.5″

James Charles, Happy Trees, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 11” x 7.5″

James Charles, Family Values, ink on real US currency, matted and framed, 10” x 7.5″