ROGER MERRITT - the artist
from Texas, Roger Merritt was influenced in art at an early age by
his mother, who was an exquisite artist in her own right. Merritt
moved with his family to Caracas, Venezuela in 1956 and began painting
under the tutelage of the famous mural painter, Pedro Centena. Merritt
was influenced by the brilliant colors predominant in South American
culture which etched a lasting impression that is still evident in
his work today.
Merritt received his Masters of Fine Arts degree in Art & Painting/Art
Education from the prestigious New York University. After graduating,
Merritt became one of the early Soho Pioneers in the 1970’s.
While living in New York City, Merritt was legally registered as an
AIR (Artist in Residence) converting two lofts in Soho (the avant
garde art district of New York City) from factory spaces into livable
living and art studio space.
Merritt was greatly influenced by his neighbor and mentor, Chuck Close
as well as many other famous New York artists with whom he had friendships,
including: Don Eddy, John Bader, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Robert
Raushenberg, Charles Ross, Ivan Karp, the owner of the O.K. Harris
Gallery and many others.
Merritt’s career in New York City spans a 23 year period as
an artist, graphic artist, illustrator, photographer and art director.
He has worked in advertising on Madison Avenue on national ad campaigns,
as well as in the motion picture industry.
In 1990 Merritt began doing art work based on Native American Culture,
having just discovered his great grandmother, Lucy Guntharp, was full
blood Cherokee. Merritt believes one of the most important things
about being an artist is to know who you are and where you came from.
The new knowledge of his Native Heritage added a whole new perspective
about how he thought about himself, others, and his art work.
In 1996 Merritt returned to his family's home in Scottsdale, Arizona
to be closer to family and to pursue what seems to be a spiritual
quest to continue to learn more about his Native Heritage and to focus
his Art on depicting Native American Culture in a positive way, hoping
to relate a wonderful closeness to nature and the natural spirituality
that once existed that has almost, if not entirely, been forgotten.
The scope of Merritt’s work extends from murals, commissioned
paintings for “upper tier” residences, private gallery
showings, sculpture, painting, and landscape design.
Having painted exquisite murals in commercial as well as private residences,
his conversion of a simple stone or plaster wall into a multi-dimensional
scape which adds depth, warmth and atmosphere is amazing to witness.
Merritt’s work is all-encompassing, which allows his clients
to verbalize their vision and participate in the creative process,
transforming their vision into a reality. Whether Influenced by Western
design, Tropical scapes, Tuscan motifs or things of a Personal nature,
the atmosphere changes into something that stirs the soul.