Thursday, April 23, 2009
Daniel Merriam was the likeable kid in your math class perpetually hunched over his desk, furiously festooning acres of Pee Chee real estate with progressively complex, mind bending doodles. Stuff that made no sense. Stuff that made a lot of sense. He was the grinning curiosity the Gym teacher hollered at to “Wipe that smirk off your face Merriam!” Something he did not do, nor could he do because it was eternally installed there by God as a reminder that not every one of the geniuses he sent our way was a brooding itinerant misfit. The wry smile, still there today, was the unintended consequence of an overwhelming sense of amazement that he had discovered a means of externally exhibiting his wildest imaginings.
Daniel Merriam exited school days through the door reserved for those kids with movie star looks and the easy charm of a golf pro. Everyone just knew he had peaked and that they would bump into him in the unemployment line ten years later, hitting them up for a smoke. But instead he threw it all away to become one of the worlds most significant artists of our time. That is everything except the good looks and charm, and the brains and….well you get the picture.
Daniel Merriam appeared at the Gaslamp Gallery in downtown San Diego April 5th and the next night at the Fashion Valley Mall Gallery, both to SRO crowds. People came just to see if there really was a Daniel Merriam or if his stunning brain teasing art was in fact the collaborative works of Pixar Studios and Area 51 hostages. I first laid eyes on him across the exhibition room at Gas Lamp and thought, “No way! He’s too good looking and too nice to people for someone that good looking!”
There is only one other artist I would (dare) place in the genre that Daniel Merriam effortlessly commands and that would be Gil Bruvel. Turns out they are good friends, and it’s a good thing I found this out because I am so angry at Daniel for being such a likeable guy I was thinking of calling Gil and complaining. I mean, after all, what ever happened to artists passing out drunk at their openings and scaring the kids?