Marcel Dzama is a draughtsman, painter, and filmmaker best known for his fantastical pen-and-ink figure drawings. Born in 1974, in Winnipeg, Canada, he studied at the University of Manitoba, where he founded The Royal Art Lodge, a group of students dedicated to drawing and illustration. Dzama’s subject matter focuses on slender women, cowboys, talking trees, and animals, and he often uses a muted color scheme of earthy greens, reds, and browns. Inspired by the Surrealist and Dada movements, as well as fairy tales, Dzama combines whimsy with elements of dark humor, nightmare, and absurdity.
In films such as The Lotus Eaters and The Infidels, he creates a violent world of tree creatures, bears, and humanoid animals. One of his most recent works, a diorama titled Rebellion Lay in Her Way, 2011, uses wood, glass, and collage to create a chaotic world inspired by Victorian melodrama. Dzama has branched out into the commercial and entertainment industries, and has illustrated album covers and novels. He is known for providing the cover art to a number of major albums, notably The Else by They Might Be Giants, Guero by Beck and Reconstruction Site by The Weakerthans. His costume designs can also be seen in the music video for the Bob Dylan song "When the Deal Goes Down", the N.A.S.A. song "The People Tree" and the Department of Eagles song "No One Does It Like You", which he also co-directed. McSweeney's has published two collections of his work, The Berlin Years in 2003, reprinted in 2006, and a follow-up, The Berliner Ensemble Thanks You All, in 2008.
Dzama Stories is a piece of music inspired by Marcel Dzama by composer Ed Bennett. It is music for amplified ensemble, electronics and improviser featuring Decibel and Paul Dunmall.
His work has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Kunsthalle Mannheim in Germany.
He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.