Mark Wayner was born Mark Weiner into a Jewish family in Lomza, Congress Kingdom of Poland, Russian Empire, in 1888, and immigrated to England with his parents in 1893, settling in Whitechapel’s Jewish quarter in London's East End. He displayed an early flair for drawing and was a friend of Mark Gertler and David Bomberg. After an apprenticeship, he painted commercially on silk for Liberty, made Chinese lacquer work, and designed cards for the Jewish firm of Raphael Tuck, also creating Union banners, and specialist designs for Jewish subjects for clock faces. He studied at Birkbeck College between 1902 and 1906, and later briefly at the Slade School of Fine Art (from 1909–10), alongside Gertler, Bomberg and Stanley Spencer, assisted by a Jewish Education Aid Society grant (which was withdrawn due to poor attendance). Bomberg and Jacob Epstein included two of Wayner’s works on paper (an Old Testament study and another of a Jewish East End workman) in the so-called ‘Jewish Section’ at the Whitechapel Art Gallery exhibition 'Twentieth Century Art: a Review of Modern Movements' in London in May 1914. Wayner quickly established a reputation as a caricaturist. In 1911 his cartoon of Russian pogroms showing the Czar as a double-headed eagle, censored in Russia, was published in the ‘Jewish Chronicle’ and several of his graphic works were reproduced in ‘Colour’ magazine, moving gradually from a traditional realist style (‘The Jew’, September 1915), to sparer, more contemporary images, such as that of ‘Major L Rothschild’ (July 1916) and ‘The Chief Rabbi’ (September 1916).
Wayner published two volumes of 'Celebrities in Caricature' in 1931 and 1940, portraying well-known contemporaneous figures from the worlds of politics and the arts, including many Jewish subjects and had a mixed show of caricatures at the Chinese Gallery in Regent Street. He was a founder member of the Ben Uri Art Society in 1915 and his work was exhibited at exhibitions including one of 'Cartoons and Caricatures' in 1950, alongside fellow cartoonists Joss, Ross, Ralph Sallon, Walter Trier, and Vicky. Wayner also painted in oils and pastel including works on Jewish subject matter, among them a painting of Chassidic dancers, owned by Arnold Wesker. The latter opened Wayner's solo exhibition at Finchley synagogue and he held a further solo show at Galleries Apollinaire in 1955, also participating in mixed exhibitions at the Whitechapel Art Gallery and the Graves Gallery, Sheffield. Mark Wayner died in Saffron Walden in Essex, England in 1980. The National Portrait Gallery also holds copies of his celebrity caricature portfolios.