What's Up Cleveland?: Josh Usmani   05.13.15

It's time for another edition of What's Up Cleveland? For our second episode we interviewed artist Josh Usmani at his Cleveland studio. Josh is an artist, writer and instructor, who, in 2009, began an unusual collaboration by re-facing paper currency. What started off as Joker faces drawn on one dollar bills eventually evolved into "Funny Money" in which Usmani re-faced 100 paper currency bills from the US, India, United Kingdom, and Fiji. Usmani notes that he will probably never meet his "collaborators"--the artists behind the original designs on the bills, but acknowledges the beauty of their work and how it informs his choices when re-facing the bills.

Since money can instill a wide range of emotions in people based on their own personal experiences with it's scarcity or abundance, Usmani enjoys watching people's reaction to his drawings. He points out that this body of work stemmed from his own frustrations with money and the economic hardships which resulted from the recession and began re-facing bills as a way to vent his anger about the situation. Since his "Funny Money" show in 2012 at Naji, Naji and Tekler inside the 78th Street Studios, his re-faced bills have gained a lot of interest, and he has put together "Funny Money II," which will be shown at Tregoning & Company, from May 15 - July 9th, 2015, with the opening reception on May 15th, 5 - 9pm.

For more information on Josh Usmani visit his website at

Author: Michelle Epps, Community Engagement Manager
Category: What's Up Cleveland?


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