Allow us to give you a glimpse into the other-worldly genius of contemporary master surrealist, Daniel Merriam, whose sublime water colors have graced our covers more than any other artist.
Daniel Merriam and his six siblings grew up in Naples, Maine, a rural town in the southwestern part of the state. The Merriam home was filled with a variety of musical instruments and Daniel’s mother was fond of throwing open the windows while she sang, thereby serenading the neighborhood. He deeply admired his father, Fremont, a structural engineer, noting he was “so methodical and efficient.” “My father always enjoyed showing me and my siblings very strange and unique things he had discovered.” Some of these things would end up in the basement of their summer cottage on Mousam Lake. “Our cellar was filled with aquariums filled with pollywogs, sea monkeys and turtles collected from a nearby cranberry bog.” It was about this time that Daniel discovered the joy of art for himself, spending blissful hours alone in his room, until “I had soon drawn enough fanciful images to wallpaper my entire room.”
So it’s no wonder that this self-taught artist says, “My creations are first composed in my head, then I use my ability to paint to bring them out. I’ve got symphonies being played between my ears, accompanied by a three-ring circus. I swing from chandeliers and walk on ceilings. My art is primarily a result of this behavior. Collectively, these escapades into other worlds involve a selective process of refining the aesthetic vision to make these dreams even more pleasing. How is it possible that an incredibly detailed, sophisticated design that looks like the result of years of craftsmanship can just pop into your head complete, without imperfection? This suggests to me that there is another layer of reality. Are there billions of these images stored in the stratosphere, waiting on tap? I know that I fashion many of them out of my ideals, and the imagery could be a culmination of combining geometric strategy with my collection of familiar images and applying the moving parts. The fact that it happens simultaneously is what makes it so amazing to me.”
As Jungian psychologist J. Robert Hanson puts it, “It is intriguing that Merriam can integrate this most difficult medium of watercolor with the equally daunting task of making conscious, and in such vivid detail, the manifest content of his dreams. His work is a remarkable contribution to our appreciation of a new direction in painting.”
The boy who sat at his little oak desk by the window, with a pencil and a piece of paper, is now an internationally recognized artist, who has had more than 100 exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. Daniel Merriam’s images engage our eyes and emotions in a kind of dance, tugging at our personal and collective memories, instantly challenging us to react and respond. The viewer is advised to set aside conventional logic and simply let the magic loose.
Daniel Merriam is above all, a grateful man. “There are people in society who believe in the artist’s place in the world. I am fortunate to know some of these people, and they have never stopped believing in me. They have shared their thoughts and feelings and given me support and encouragement. They have shown me that what I do is important. Through my art I have learned the importance of following my heart.”
We are grateful that Daniel follows his heart, and to be the recipients of that gift. Thank you, Daniel!
Daniel’s Merriam’s latest publication is “Built On Dreams Alone”, from Keystone Publishing. This sumptuous, 300+ page hardcover coffee table book is scheduled for release in December 2016. In addition, Daniel’s highly anticipated new paintings are also scheduled to be released in December.
If you’re ever in the San Francisco area, visit Daniel’s Bubble Street Gallery, in Sausalito.
565 Bridgeway Blvd., Sausalito, CA