Press Release 8/22/18

(Kent, Connecticut) – The Kent Memorial Library is pleased to announce that Gaylordsville artist Bill Merklein will have his paintings displayed in the Library’s Gallery from September 1 through October 29 in an exhibit titled “A Rambling Brush.

From a young age Bill has been blessed to have had a strong background in Ideas and the Arts. Bill’s father (William) an engineering draftsman and artist, his mother (Norah), at one time a singer and dancer in the Metropolitan Opera created this setting. From an early age Bill was exposed and immersed himself in this creative world set against the backdrop of a very creative period in New York City’s history. Living across the street from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Bill’s first sculpting clay was given to him by a student at Pratt. Later, after his father’s early death a family friend and mentor Dr. Bobrove took him under his wing, Dr. Bobrove collected art materials from several of his patients and presented a young Bill with his first paint set. While Bill came from a humble and at points difficult background he has had the great fortune to come across wonderful individuals who helped shape and guide his artistic path throughout his life.

The artist who had the foremost influence on Bill’s work was Impressionist painter Bernard Lennon. Bill first met Lennon at the impressionable age of twelve at the Washington Square Art Show in 1958. Bill was fortunate enough to sit beside Lennon at the art show to listen and learn his thoughts on painting. From his first meeting with Lennon until Lennon’s death, Bill found his friendship and mentorship key to his own artistic journey, which remains with him to this day. If asked to name the movement or artist who had influenced Bill’s philosophy it would be Robert Henri. Bill has read The Art Spirit countless times and has found it an inspirational work across the span of his creative life. He recommends it to all students and friends. Henri wrote in the Art Spirit “Do whatever you do intensely. The artist is the man who leaves the crowd and goes pioneering. With him there is an idea which is his life.” Bill embodies this. In 1976, Bill walked away from his successful advertising job to pursue an artistic life and has never looked back.

“I’ve known Bill for many years and have watched his art career with great interest. A number of years ago when the hologram technology was first being used, a March 1984 National Geographic cover featured a hologram of an eagle. The eagle was actually a sculpture that Bill was commissioned to execute,” says Gaylordsville artist, Susan Grisell.

In addition to National Geographic, he had many other commissions. While Bill’s successful work as a Commercial Sculptor and Painter is impressive, ranging from his sculpture work with Hasbro, holographic sculptures for American Bank Note to his list of extensive commissions including sculpture models for Louise Bourgeois, Military Historical Miniatures and recently the Helen Browning Scripps Medal that was awarded to Senator Gabriel Gifford’s by Scripps College. The driving force behind his creativity is the quest to be the best painter he can be and to share his knowledge and deep love of painting and sculpture with his students.

Bill has his studio and lives in Gaylordsville, CT. He actively teaches painting and sculpting he can be reached at 860-210-1770.

Please join us on Saturday afternoon, September 29 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. for reception to meet the artist. The program is free and open to the public. To register, please call the Library, 860-927-3761; go online; email; or stop by the Library.