GOOD
Money

An Artist Transforms Shredded George Washingtons Into Barack Obama

The humble dollar bill is an impressive statement

A single dollar bill won’t get you far in today’s world—it won’t cover a gallon of gas, a subway swipe, a cup of coffee most places. But it remains, as artist Mark Wagner explains, “the most ubiquitous piece of paper in America.” Brooklyn-based Wagner is a collage artist who creates portraits, natural scenes, politcal images, and more by repurposing one dollar bills. And by repurposing, we mean he cuts legal tender into tiny pieces, then carefully shapes iconic images and moments with a fascinating flair.

His pieces range in size from 2 by 4 inches to 8 by 6 feet (plus one replica of the Statue of Liberty that was 17 feet tall). He sells his art through Pavel Zoubok gallery and pieces cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars for the tiniest, business card-sized pieces to $5000 to $10,000 for a 12 by 16 inch piece to six figures for even larger pieces (prices are available upon request from the gallery). For us mere mortals, he sells posters and books of his work on his website starting at $20.


For Wagner, the currency has become such a part of his canvas, he reminds himself that “it’s something people worry about, it’s something people fight over.” With his art, Wagner strips the dollar of its symbolic worth, and gives it a whole new value.

See more of Mark Wagner’s art by visiting his website at markwagnerinc.com.