For artist James Charles, money has become a symbol of his creative energy.
Since 2010, Charles began working on a series called American Iconomics, in which he turns the faces on bank notes into famous pop culture icons, including Princess Leia, Salvador Dali, Captain America, Spock, and Hugh Huffner. And he’s seriously good at it.
We always thought that if you defaced US bills or coins that you could face fines and jail time if you were caught by the Secret Service, as the money would be unfit to be reissued. But according to law, in order to be convicted, you would have to deface the money with the intent to defraud someone. You know, like trying to pass off $10 bills as $100 bills — that kind of shady stuff.
After finding the perfect ink and materials to match what the U.S. Mint uses on each bank note, Charles was able to alter both the presidents’ faces as well as the font and script along the bottom of the bills.
Check out the incredible money art in the slideshow above, or go here.