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Marcus Dawson's Collage Art

We all dealt with the pandemic times and the separation from society that it caused in different ways. Marcus Dawson fought the dark by cutting bright and happy things from found media, like magazines, and creating collages. In doing so he found an artistic voice that drawing or painting couldn’t awaken. Marcus is the featured artist in the Leland Cultural Arts Center (LCAC) Gallery this month, giving him the chance to share his artwork in its physical, rather than digital, form with his community for the first time. We spoke to Marcus about his show and how he turns “waste” into art.

When will your exhibit go up and how long will it be on display?

My exhibit "A Collaged Life" will be on display from May 30 - June 28. I will also be having a public reception of the work on June 8 from 6-8 pm at the LCAC.

How did you get the opportunity to display at the LCAC?

Last year I saw a post that LCAC made stating that they were looking for exhibitions for 2023. I knew that I was a newer artist so I found myself a little hesitant to apply. With some faith, and after a good pep talk with myself, I submitted my proposal for my show. Shortly after my submission I received a congratulations letter and here we are.

What does it mean to you to be able to share your work in its physical form with the community?

Being able to share my work with the community means everything to me. As an artist we often create in solitude but when a work is displayed openly, there is a beautiful connection that happens between you, the viewer and the work. Also, I often share my work online but there is no better feeling than seeing the work up close in person. With collage especially, you see the nuances of the work, the little rips and cuts that make the work come alive.

What is your history as an artist?

I have always been a creative person but honestly I didn't think at first that I could be an artist because I didn't paint or draw. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. It wasn't until I discovered collage art that I truly found my voice as an artist. I saw that through this form of art I could use my skills of storytelling to create these one-of-a-kind art pieces out of things that others considered scraps. Collage making has changed my life in the most surprising and beautiful way,

What drew you to college art? Was your work during the pandemic your first try at that?

I was first introduced to collage by my Mother. She was a Vacation Bible School teacher several years ago and one of the crafts for her class was making collages. When I created my first collage back then I was so inspired at how I could take images and quotes that already existed in the world and transform them into a completely new masterpiece.

During the pandemic I was trying to find ways to express myself. Having all of that alone time made me feel so disconnected. One day I picked up some old magazines and books from a thrift store. When I got home I began to cut out images and create collages. It was like I came alive for the first time during the difficulty of the pandemic. It was then I found my voice... I found myself again.

How do you choose images to use? What sort of sources do you use?

I honestly use anything that is available. That is the beauty about collage making. I use anything from high-end fashion magazines, newspapers, thrifted books, and so much more. I do however love using classic books and magazines from the 60's and 70's. I specifically use bright and bold colors in my work to evoke feelings of peace and light. We all have experienced heavy times and I wanted the art that I make to be an escape — even if it’s for a moment — from those times.

Any plans for next steps after your exhibit closes?

There are so many things that I want to do! I do have some artwork that I was commissioned for in a magazine this upcoming fall. I also would like to teach some Collage workshops before the year is out.


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