Tag Archives: portraits

Currency Portraits By Mark Wagner

‘toll bridge/ troll bridge or GW on the GWB’ detail

Mark Wagner was born quietly in the rural Midwest at the tail end of thirteen children. Since leaving the sandbox at the age of fourteen, he has continued his creative career in the fields of writing, collage, and bookmaking. He is co-founder of The Booklyn Artists Alliance, and has published books under the name Bird Brain Press and X-ing Books.

Wagner’s work is collected by dozens of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution. It has shown at The Metropolitan Museum, The Getty Research Institute, and The Brooklyn Museum.

detail of wagner’s currency collage of the mona lisa
image courtesy of mark wagner

The one dollar bill is the most ubiquitous piece of paper in America. Collage asks the question: what might be done to make it something else? It is a ripe material: intaglio printed on sturdy linen stock, covered in decorative filigree, and steeped in symbolism and concept. Blade and glue transform it-reproducing the effects of tapestries, paints, engravings, mosaics, and computers—striving for something bizarre, beautiful, or unbelievable… the foreign in the familiar.

a money portrait to abraham lincoln
image courtesy of mark wagner

My creative production includes work in many media: from writing and artist bookmaking to drawing, collage, and assemblage. Though varied, this work is far from eclectic-forming several discrete bodies that both stand on their own and link in nature and theme to their counterparts.

In whatever media employed I have a tendency toward meticulous production and solid graphic presentation. Usually fantastical, occasional surreal, and often interdisciplinary- I am satisfied only when concept and craft meet on equally firm footing.

detail of a collage from the ‘washington at large’ series

detail view from the ‘washington at large’ series

detail of a lion’s face made from currency

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http://markwagnerinc.com/