The Carnivalesque Art of Daniel Merriam

If you’re a fan of surreal art and fantasy worlds, you’ll most definitely admire Daniel Merriam’s illustrations and paintings. Highly detailed and filled to the brim with whimsical characters and carnivalesque embellishments, his art at times is a reflection of the colonial landscapes of his childhood, to which he adds a surreal twist.

Growing up, Merriam’s home was the epitome of innovation and creativity. “Our house was full of a variety of musical instruments,” he relays in his bio, posted on his personal website. “We often sat around the kitchen table and sketched on paper bags until they were covered inside and out with pictures of anything we could imagine,” he adds. “Hours were spent in my father’s woodworking shop, carving toy boats and other fun things to play with.”

With music, woodshop carving, and illustrating all parts of his childhood scenery, a passion for art was only a matter of time. At only 15, Merriam entered the Bridgton Art Show and won first place in the student category. This was also where he was introduced to artist Alan Magee. “I was amazed by his technique — such great realism, done so simply,” writes Merriam. “I have never been able to match his skills, but I have instead cultivated merits of my own.”

Following his heart and with Magee for inspiration, Merriam would go on to master the art of painting. “There were times when I felt like giving up, but eventually I turned things around by perfecting my artistic talent,” he writes. Good thing he carried on!