At the moment, tattoo artist Scott Campbell's cut currency seems to be the most blogged about and cited artwork when it comes to cut up money. And artist Hanna von Goeler paints upon United States currency. But it's the work of artist Mark Wagner that I find the most impressive. Using only $1 bills, Mark creates extraordinary 'currency collages'.
The image below is brand new, sent to me by the artist late last night. Titled "Duh-dunt…" after the Jaws theme:
detail from above right image:
His latest and most topical currency collage, Vote With Your Pocketbook, features the presidential candidates Obama and Romney for 2012:
Mark's currency collages are a sight to behold. The dedication, composition and cutting up of one dollar bills to create intricate detailed tapestry-like posters is simply astounding.
From recreating famous artworks like Grant Wood's American Gothic and Chuck Close's self-portrait:
American Gothic details:
Chuck Close portrait details:
...to creating original images of animals, faces, scenes and plants, the collages are all made with American one dollar bills, a blade, glue, patience and a butt-load of talent.
detail of center piece above:
detail from above piece:
It is amazing what Wagner can create with the limited palette of colors, shapes and subjects from the two color inked engraved dollar bills. Below is a close-up look at some of my favorites.
Honeycomb and bees:
Angler fish/ Monster/Mermaid:
Three Georges In a Boat:
About the Artist:
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.
The Artist's Statement About His Currency Collages:
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.
American, B. 1976
For books and posters go to X-ing Books
Inquire about original currency collages at Pavel Zoubok Gallery
Inquire about artists books at The Booklyn Artists Alliance
In the Chicago area contact Western Exhibitions
Mark Wagner website
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