03/05/2013 02:50 pm ET

American Dream Shows Its Dark Side In Mike Mellia's Satirical Photography Series (PHOTOS)

As one of the characters states in Gary Shteyngart’s "Super Sad True Love Story," it's “zero hour for our economy, zero hour for our military might, zero hour for everything that used to make us proud to be ourselves.” Photographer Mike Mellia scratches through the pastel exterior of squeaky clean Americans in the series below to show a shocking dystopian reality. Smart phones, syringes, handguns and stilettos populate Mellia's vision, where perfection comes at a dangerous cost.

The photographer went with a palette of "Psychiatric Green and Barbie Pink" to depict the warped ideals in our current culture. The artist explains his vision in a work featured below: "In an over-medicating world of delusional distraction, the images explore if the American Dream has become a perverse, deformed cliché."

This isn't the first time Mellia, a commercial photographer, has used his professional medium to let out some steam; we featured the satirical artist's takedown of overweight American consumers last year. However, if you're offended, Mellia's words might not console you: "If you are following your vision with a clear concept, the level of offensiveness is irrelevant."

Take a look at Mellia's series and let us know if you think he paints an accurate picture of the American nightmare dream today.

Mike Mellia