Things don't get much better than working with Drew Merritt. Today, in my latest and greatest interactions with the artist, he casually slipped on a pair of sunglasses and showed off a makeshift blowtorch using the tools of his trade, a can of spray paint and a lighter. It may come as no surprise that Merritt is cool. Like most working artist of our day and age, he's not brooding or an art school cliche, he's working. To most of the world, a working person is a sane person. But are artists sane?
Here at the gallery we've joked that Drew has moved into W.A.A.S. But he kind of has. He's got the key. He's working in the gallery, filling it with the smell of fresh paint and enthusiasm for his upcoming opening, this Saturday August 4th. The gallery floor is strewn with paint brushes, paper plates and an iHome that temporarily played "Tipsy" by J-Kwon (...really Drew? ). Point being, Drew is, to this day, getting work done. He's making fresh art for his opening at W.A.A.S., and that's what I find so refreshing.
Is our idea of what an artist is so contoured that we don't recognize the chill, hard-working qualities of a person whose profession just so happens to be artist? Merritt is an honest to goodness down to earth guy. He entertained a conversation with me about the life and death of a pair of jeans. (I don't know if you've ever seen an artist, but paint does not wash out of denim.) Denim...riveting? In a way, yes, was. Drew is devoting himself to his work in the gallery, our gallery, but also taking the time to be himself, be the human that we have forgotten most artists can be. I don't know many people that can work on their first ever video installation and still know all the words to the latest Drake album. Even better, I don't know many people that will take the time to explain to an intern why exactly he has not one pair of clean pants.