Daniel Merriam’s fantasy-fueled scenes captivate viewers for hours in playful thought among castle-like houses, where it seems you could reach out and pop the colorful bubbles drifting by.
A Fine Line, 2015
Fish Story, 2005
Merriam (American, b. 1963) grew up in a small village along the coast of Maine. His childhood environment finds its way into his work, where it mixes with imagery from authors he read growing up—Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and Jules Verne to name a few—and architecture and art he’s observed while traveling through France, Spain, Italy, and beyond.
After studying mechanical and architectural design, he began his career as an architectural illustrator. After a few years, Merriam gave up commercial art and built his skills and portfolio with wonder-filled drawings and paintings. “I love designing my own environments and making things with my own hands,” Merriam says. “It allows me to fulfill my dreams not only in my paintings but in real life.”
His education is apparent in his art: surreal, romantic, and phantasmagorical paintings in which ornately decorated Baroque buildings are suspended in trees, crafted over waterfalls, and carried on the backs of elephants and cats. Likewise, the characters who populate Merriam’s wonderland dress extravagantly as they travel in hot air balloons and ride carriages and penny-farthing bicycles.
In 2012, Merriam opened Bubble Street Gallery—an emporium celebrating creativity and the imagination in Sausalito, California—named after his painting Bubble Street
. Merriam’s artwork hasn’t been confined to this gallery, though. His paintings have traveled in exhibitions across the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. As Merriam says, his audience is universal, limited only to “those who have the willingness to see with their hearts and minds.”
High Altitude, 2005
Bubble Street, 1994