Money Defaced or Delightful?

I’d like to introduce you to James Charles, he doesn’t design for the mint, but he ought to.  Charles can take an ordinary 5 dollar bill and, with a few touches here and there, can turn it into a $700 work of art!

Some people argue that it is not illegal to draw/ink/create or otherwise alter existing pieces of money. Believing instead that what is illegal is trying to pass that money off as a greater denomination than it represented. Such as counterfeiting 5 dollar bills on top of 1 dollar bills or Xeroxing copies of $100 bills.

If it is illegal the secret service must have bigger fish to fry. They haven’t shut down the famous ‘Where’s George’ (www.wheresgeorge.com) bill tracking movement.  I’ve seen more than a few bills with that website stamped across Washington’s face.

Even if it were against the law it would have to be forgivable. It’s that good.

Anyone able to turn 100 (Ben Franklin), 50 (Ulysses S. Grant), 20 (Andrew Jackson), and 10 (Alexander Hamilton) dollar bills into the band mates from ‘Kiss’ is an art master.

Peter Criss Cash

Ace Frehley on 50 dollar bill.

Gene Simmons on $100 bill.

Paul Stanley on money.


Charles’ subjects are pop icons, musicians, actors, politicians, artists etc.

I am partial to the bills he devotes to the artists. Notably, the Vincent Van Gogh, the Salvador Dali.

Vincent van Gogh bill

Salvador Dali $5 bill

Followed second by those he’d done of fictional movie characters. Such as the 1931 Frankenstein’s monster and his bride, or the Oompa Loompa! Love that one!

Frankenstein's Monster Money

Oompa Loompa on a $10

If I can’t own one of these altered greenbacks, then I want to learn how to make them myself!

Yoda on a ten dollar bill

Spock on a $5 bill.





Portraits with People as Pixels

I wasn’t sure what exactly this was that I was looking at.

At first I thought it was plain ol’ pointillism. Except… it’s not is it?

Squint. Look a little harder. It’s ants isn’t it! Isn’t it? No. It’s not. Oh, lord, are those… people?!?

The Statue of Liberty Portrait



George Washington Portrait


arack Obama Portrait by Craig Alan

However, no. You don’t see.

It fooled me.

I totally thought I was looking at some mass coordination-collaboration portrait-taking effort. I thought ‘it can be done!’ and chose to believe it despite my skepticism over anybody being able to find a massive, flat, neutral toned ground.

Skeptical, and naive. Until I noticed how many of these tiny figures appear to be in mid-motion. Wait a minute. How could these portraits turn out so well with soooo many moving people in them?

Answer. They CAN’T.

Close view of the portraits


Those people in the picture above, they’re not people. They’re not little plastic figures either. They’re painted.

PAINTED! It’s a trompe l’oeil.
Did it fool you too? Because if it didn’t fool you too… I’d feel like a chump.

You can see more of Craig Alan’s fabulous artwork at craigalanart.com