Meet Hugh Merrill

What is your role in this exhibit? What kind of art do you make or support?  

As an artist I have explored my studio work deeply and simultaneously expanded my interest to create collaborative community-based works. Ken Ferguson, well-known American ceramist use to tell his students regarding their studio work to “dig their well deeper”. I have not only followed that advice but have also used my creative resources/opportunities to irrigate the creativity of others through teaching, community arts projects, writings and outreach to inner city youth for over 30 years. I started as a printmaker in 1976 and for over 14 years focused solely on producing black and white etchings informed by the light of Rembrandt. Today I do not know what I will produce next.

Is making stuff really work for you, or is it play? Why? Why even engage in the arts? 

All too many people believe the arts are a secondary activity, yet in my view they are of primary importance. When we attempt to understand our lives we do it by creating a story, an internal narrative, a judgment of values. And this is the beginning of making art. The unreal non-material world of feelings, judgments, thoughts and values is the consequential world that motivates our actions; this is also the world of making art. So art is serious business and it is play serious /play serious/play ………

What is your perception of the ArtWorkers exhibit and your involvement in it? 

My involvement is to produce opportunities for others to respond to.  This can be an image on the gallery wall or setting up a photo booth for others to have their pictures taken with the masks of different faces covering theirs. Art is only made/completed in relation to the interaction with the viewer.

Any advice for future ArtWorkers? 

Everyone is an artworker and everyone is an artist. There is large art, the elite realm of genius and there is the everyday experience of feeling, being and communicating through small creative gestures and actions that feed the resources of all art, high and low.

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