Merritt, Gene


Gene Merritt
[-"ElviS-PrESley"-], 1995
pointball pen on paper
28 x 21,2 cm
© photo credit
Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne


Merritt, Gene (1936-2015), USA


Gene Merritt (Clyde Eugene Merritt) was born in South Carolina, in the United States. A bout of high fever when he was about five left him with a mental handicap. His childhood was marked by his parents’ alcoholism, regular stays in foster homes, and his mother’s suicide. After this dramatic event, he went to live with his father in Fort Mill, and likewise lapsed into alcoholism. In 1972, when he was thirty-six, Merritt found himself alone and dependent on social welfare. Later he moved into a caravan at Rock Hill.

He started to draw, using a ballpoint pen, developing a highly individual graphic style: the faces of television, film or music stars are put together from thousands of fragments, like a jigsaw puzzle, each one named in a short caption placed in round or square brackets. He also draws vehicles, mainly collector’s cars. His pictures are done from memory, mostly on tablemats or lined paper. In his spare time he plays both the electric guitar and the bass.


Exhibition(s) at the Art Brut Collection