Let’s Get Surreal – Tractor Brewing Nob Hill, Welcomes: Kurt Merkel ~ to the walls…


A self-described surrealist and abstract expressionist, Kurt Merkel, is now taking up space in a beautiful and vibrant way, on our Nob Hill walls. Kurt’s work jumps out at you, while reeling you in… at the same time! It is large and colorful – beautiful, and worth  a few beers while you take a look! We wanted to know what is in that brain of Kurt’s, so we asked him some questions. Enjoy reading his answers! Cheers. 

How did you artist career begin?

After spending 20 years in the advertising & design field, it was time for me to turn towards a personal expression of my art. With my skills as a calligrapher and illustrator, abstract expression was a natural choice for my new direction. As a complete break from the norms, I found birch plywood the perfect medium to begin my journey. Hand rubbing the paint into the wood gave me a visceral connection to the overall experience… a love affair between the wood’s grain and my language of poetic line.


Give me 3 words that describe your art as folks witness it today?

Sensual, Intellectual, Entertaining.


How has your art evolved?

My method of approach hasn’t changed. I start with a composition guided by my subconscious and intuition, with or without a defined subject in mind. I then choose a specific piece of the birch veneer that complements the design. The evolution of textures and most notably, aluminum has made the greatest impact on my art. The complement of aluminum, wood and various textures brings these expressive artworks to life in a more complex, visual, and tangible way.


Where do you think your art will take you?

It has taken me to amazing places I’ve never seen… the unseen worlds within myself. Thoughts, feelings, imagery that now can be appreciated, and most importantly, shared with all. Where my art will take me is a mystery, to me.


Who is an inspiration for your work?

I’m inspired by all artists of all genres! Their influence has helped shape me. However, the one that inspires me the most is myself. I love everything about me. I can thoroughly entertain myself. Each new artwork is an inspiration to again, make something from nothing… how cool is that!


What is the goal when you set out to create?

Essentially, my goal is to produce an artwork with a fresh and compelling interest in both style and content. After that, it’s out of my control… enjoy!


If you could give young artists a piece of advice, what would it be?
Be careful in the way you react and absorb criticism, negative and positive. I would say it’s the most powerful influence on a young person, period! Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done, because experience plays such a huge part in our interpretations.

What is next for you in your career?

I’m in the beginning stages of a transition in my work… painting style, color palette, compositions… can’t wait to see what Kurt comes up with this time!