Marcus Alfred was born on September 14, 1981, in Alert Bay, an island community on the northern shore of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He was the son of renowned artist, Wayne Alfred, and the grandson of Pat Alfred. His "Potlatch name was P̓adzismax̱wa, which came 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 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 shared this responsibility with his son. Marcus 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 was a gifted artist and assisted many of the more established artists such as Beau Dick, Don Svanvik, and his father with the painting of particular pieces. His art has become highly collectible and can be found in private collections and in the best galleries on the Pacific Northwest Coast.