Collage is often thought of as an amalgamation of different materials. But for Brooklyn-based artist Mark Wagner, his ongoing collage work is almost always comprised of a single material: one dollar bills. But to simply refer to what he creates as collages probably doesn’t do them justice. Wagner’s work is extremely intricate and meticulous; he gives purpose to the placement of each shred of currency. We don’t doubt that whatever the material, Wagner could compose a masterpiece beyond our wildest imagination. But part of the intrigue here is certainly the taboo nature of destroying dollar bills. In his own words, Wagner discusses his choice of material: “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.”
Be sure to also check out the terrific process video below.