Mark Wagner cuts up dollars bills to create detailed collages of fantastical portraits and landscapes. From a Mona Lisa rendition, to portraits of American presidents and artist Chuck Close, Wagner’s Currency Portraits are a vexing and fascinating use of real currency. The artwork works to question “wealth” and “the division of wealth” in the United States.
Wagner believes that “money is just a material” in this case, the breaking down of materials involves cutting up and gluing hundreds of dollars. He says, “I have to remind myself what it means to people.” Of this seemingly intricate cutting process Wagner says, “for a collage artist, destruction is the first necessary step, your materials need to be broken down so that they can be put back together in a different way.”
Wagner’s works makes face with our grip of money, turning something of everyday value into something more.
If you’re feeling generous, Wagner accepts bill donations from all over the world to make these pieces.
See more works here.