Meet Paul Merrion: An Artist of Extremes
By Julie Senger
Paul's self portrait
Paul Merrion is a risk taker in art and in life. He strides confidently around campus wearing an outdoor sport windbreaker because—when he isn’t creating art—Paul can be found skateboarding locally or snowboarding in Colorado. So it's no surprise that his favorite thematic subjects to portray in his work are extreme sports where there is a "sense of danger or no guaranteed outcome."
Paul's favorite mediums are oil painting and wood sculpting. He is currently working on a series of fearsome sharks in his printmaking class. Some of his other works include portrayals of motorcyclists, snowboarders or skateboarders "angled in mid air."
Paul’s artwork and his personality naturally seem to complement each other. However, Paul didn't start out as a visual arts major. He began his college career at another university as an industrial design and building construction major; but he decided that this sort of creation was "too rigid" for him. When he began his schooling at Kennesaw State, Paul intended to major in English education. However, a fellow artist friend saw some of Paul's artwork and encouraged him to pursue a visual arts degree instead.
Since Paul began his visual arts courses at KSU, he has found Associate Professor Donald Robson, who teaches painting and drawing classes, to be especially inspirational. "Professor Robson knows his stuff and he gets excited about art,” said Paul. “He's also very honest with you about your work, which is always helpful." Paul also enjoyed his 3-D design class, taught by Adjunct Professor Chris Wilson.
Paul's many accomplishments include receiving the 2007 Austell/South Cobb Rotary Scholarship, which is awarded to a student who demonstrates academic achievement, artistic talent and involvement in art. Paul’s artwork was placed in the Spring 2007 Juried Art Exhibition and two of his pieces were selected for the latest "Best of" Student Art Exhibition. One of the selected pieces was an abstract sculpture of a rower and the other was a self-portrait painting.
As for what Paul hopes to convey through his work, "rather than wowing people with technique, I'm much more interested in getting people excited about what they are seeing, whether that is done through the colors I use or the subject matter." Since Paul’s work often portrays extreme sportsmen suspended in midair, landing unknown, one can’t help but have a few heart palpitations while viewing his images.
After graduation, Paul hopes to find some artistic inspiration by “moving to Colorado and working at a ski resort for awhile.” And, he believes his KSU visual arts degree “will help me to make the most of every situation. No matter what comes my way, I will be able to find a creative way to manage it."