It might surprise some that watercolorist Daniel Merriam, known for his stylized, fantastic paintings, grew up in a sleepy summer resort town. There were none of the castles or glorious architectural forms found in his works – their foundation and beauty lies purely in his imagination. He finds such beauty in the world around him, whether it be a building, a landscape, or a creature. All of these things create a place he “escapes” to in his current exhibition, “Now You See Me: The Art of Escapism” at AFA Gallery in New York. His new pieces touch upon both the emotional and natural aspects of escapism, an artistic tool he uses to further unleash his mind. Merriam takes a brief moment to tell us more about the inspiration and style choices behind the exhibition, below.
HF: Your gallery, Bubble Street, is in Sausalito, California – where are you from originally?
DM: I was born in York, Maine.
HF: How did you connect with AFA Gallery in New York?
DM: My work was proposed to AFA by a mutual acquaintance some 10 years ago. We discovered a great chemistry between us that formed a close relationship, embracing not only the art but the friendship we have gained through what has turned out to be quite an adventure.
HF: Tell me about the intricate style of architecture in your work.
DM: I guess one might call it “Baroque”, as it builds on many principles of that era. I often use the architectural forms as the armature for my composition. My creative license takes greatest influence from the turning points of Baroque, Victorian and Art Nouveau, which seem to celebrate eclecticism.
Merriam’s artwork for “Now You See Me: Art of Escapism” in progress.
I’m quite keen on the mysteries held within the overlapping fringes of art movements. There is much world history within the untold stories of artistic intention and vernacular lost in the folds. Culture and fashion are reaching into the future and the past to all extremes. I suppose I’m doing the same, seeking out my favorite high points in art or design and building on them.
I am a time traveler of sorts, lingering longer in the years that suit my demeanor.
“Now You See Me: The Art of Escapism” is now on view at AFA Gallery through June 7th.
Underwritten by AFA NYC.