Dollar bills, y’all. Some people spend them as soon as they get them; some like to collect as many as they can; some smear dog poop on them and watch from their porch as an unsuspecting victim picks them up, but we prefer the people who cut them up for the sake of art. We’ve seen Scott Campbell transform stacks of money into 3d carvings, Chad Person turned them into military weapons, but these incredible collages by Mark Wagner take the cake. By carefully slicing up dollar bills and rearranging them into beautiful scenes of George Washington as an everyday man, he makes a powerful statement in a culture dominated by money and greed.[see_also]
Wagner, who also founded Booklyn Artists Alliance, uses every detail of the dollar bill- from the pyramids, fire, flowers, seals and Masonic eye to the portrait of our founding father George Washington and the encrypted swirls- finding the perfect portion to create each collage. In an interview with Paradigm Magazine Wagner explains:
Money is a human invention and subject to human redefinition. It is sometimes an overwhelming and illusive thing to consider … this often makes money seem oppressive. If anything, I’d like my art to help diffuse some of this tension about money. See … its not such a bully … you can cut it up and make pictures out of it if you want.
His work may come as a shock to some with the current state of our economy, but it definitely makes people think about their relationship with money and how much control they let it have over their lives. See more of Wagner’s money collages on his website and learn more about him and his art in this fascinating interview with Paradigm Magazine.