Marcus Alfred was born on September 14, 1981 in Alert Bay, an island community on the northern shore of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He is the son of renowned artist, Wayne Alfred, and the grandson of Pat Alfred. “My Potlach name is P̓adzismax̱wa, which comes from Blunden Harbour. It got passed on from my grandfather, Binatsa, and that was his Hamat’sa name before he became a chief”.
Like his father, Marcus was taught the ceremonial traditions of Kwakwaka'wakw people and from an early age he has participated in the ceremonies held at the Alert Bay Big House – the cultural center for the village. His father is among the premier ceremonial dancers and more recently has begun to share this responsibility with his son. Marcus has now danced many masks for various families who were performing their family crest masks at a Potlatch.
"Our living room was always one couch and a dance floor. I would practice dancing and Marcus would watch and follow the steps." — Wayne Alfred
Marcus has proved to be a gifted artist and has assisted many of the more established artists such as Beau Dick, Don Svanvik, and his father with the painting of particular pieces. He is particularly in demand during the preparations for ceremonial events when many pieces are being created. More and more he began to focus on his own work and now he is full time artist. His understanding of the dance and how masks are performed has greatly enhanced his ability to carve masks that are both functional and powerful. He continues to dance and has been called on to represent Northwest Coast art as an ambassador on the world stage. His art has quickly become highly collectible and can be found in private collections and in the best galleries on the Pacific Northwest Coast.