The Ever-Surprising Paintings of Daniel Merriam

Surrealist art often features an element of surprise, created by unexpected juxtapositions and dreamlike aspects. Such is the work of contemporary artist Daniel Merriam.

Describing himself as a “romantic surrealist”, his paintings are inspired not only by the surrealist movement but by Art Nouveau, Belle Époque, Gothic, Renaissance, and the Victorian age.

Merriam’s paintings often present fantastical settings: a house harnessed to an elephant that is being ridden by a monkey; a winged butler presenting a tray filled with birds to a hungry cat.

According to the painter, nature plays a big role in his art. “My world was fashioned from the rawness of nature’s reality and the fanciful treatments of my perception,” he reflected once in an interview with Putsch.

According to Merriam, from a very young age he was drawn to the natural world: “Between sailing, fishing, and diving I had spent as much time in the water as I did out,” he recalled.

Water in particular is a common theme in his paintings. “Both my family and our community possessed a whimsical quality that remains in my art to this day,” stressed Merriam.

With some 45,500 followers on his Instagram alone, Merriam’s work is celebrated both online and offline. His work is exhibited throughout the United States and Europe. In one case, his paintings were shown alongside those of Salvador Dali. You’d want to take note.