Merny will launch his first solo exhibition this week

Destination Bristol for Waste Of Paint

Noncey royals, confident spiders, big experts, non-sensical instructional diagrams and a fat wad of political commentary, anti-war messages and general disdain for the corrupt and unjust system…

Welcome to the world of Merny; An artist with a knack of vibrantly (and often surreally) illustrating 21st century foibles, fuckries of the human experience and the utter stupidity of man, greed and life under the late stage capitalism sledgehammer. Some of these creations can be found on walls around his current Bristol base. Other works have been commissioned by festivals such as Balter and Glastonbury. Others, meanwhile, have been a tad controversial and ruffled a few feathers.


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A great deal of them, though, can be seen, appreciated, viewed and indeed purchased later this week as he hosts his first ever solo exhibition.

A Waste Of Paint takes place at Bristol gallery 17 Midland Road this Friday July 12 and runs until Thursday July 18 and will capture Merny’s journey so far. It’s a unique journey; Merny (who’s also a really dope and deep digging DJ when he finds the time) stumbled upon his natural flare a little later in life than many painters, when he met his partner and started painting random trucks and vans on German walls.

The best part of 10 years later, he’s full time on the paints and one of 1 More Thing’s favourite street artists / satirists / social commenters. If you’re a regular reader of our content and share our sense of humour/outrage at the way the world currently works then chances are you’ll feel his work too. Get to know, check some of his work in his feature and find out more about his exhibition…

First solo exhibition. This is a moment. Congratulations! How do you feel?

Thanks! And yes! It’s been 5 years in the making. I feel nervous and excited. I’ve got less than two weeks to pull everything together and make it as exciting as I can. I’ve told everyone its happening now so it’s too late to back out. The good thing is I already made all the artwork so I just need to get it up on the walls and sort out all the finishing touches and final jobs. I can’t wait for everyone to see the work in front of them. Most of this artwork has just been shared online.

Take us back. This started with vans didn’t it? You never set out to be an artist did you?

I was always creative and tried out various things including photography, film making, graphic design, running record labels. All sorts of things. I started making work in Berlin when I met my partner Billy. Before I met her I thought spray paint was just for graffiti and if you didn’t do it when you were a kid then you missed the boat.

It was when I met Billy that I realised you can paint walls with anything you like. I spent several years experimenting and trying out things which in hindsight were a hodge podge of her style and other people I knew. Then yeah, I spent about four years painting vans and trucks. You can see the artwork here.

Fast forward to 2019/ 2020 and I had moved to Bristol. The world went mental and I decided to start painting people doing things. I wasn’t seeing vans anymore but I was seeing people in the city and thinking about what they were saying to each other.

There’s a playfulness to your work. Often quite daft or surreal. But they always come with some heavy messages… Which comes first when you start a new piece?

It works both ways to be honest. Sometimes I’ve painted a picture and then I’m racking my brains for what the person can be saying or thinking. Other times I know what I want to say but I need to build an image around that. Usually the combination just comes to me. Sometimes I have to let a piece stew for a bit whilst I think about the best phrase to use. Sometimes I paint the phrase and then two weeks later realise I could have done something better. Which is annoying. I take phrases from things people have said around me or sometimes just say the truth that everyone knows but no one writes down like in this piece. . .


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It’s helped me to calm down about things that are really pissing me off. Like a form of therapy.

Yeah I definitely understand the therapy. A way of venting feelings and articulating a strong sense of weary acceptance / frustration of the shitty end of the human experience. There’s also a strong sense of the mundane or a profound Britishness. Is that my perspective or does that resonate with you too?  

Yes that resonates with me. Half my family is Irish and I was never brought up buying into England. I hate the royal family, I hate Winston Churchill, I hate the gammon underbelly of the country and all the posh boys that are born to rule.


I think England is shit. I didn’t really mean to end up living here again after I went to Berlin in my 20s but somehow I did end up back here. In a way I’ve made better artwork being here and it resonates with people more. I do have an English sense of humour and my work wouldn’t really work the same in German for example. I like dark weird and deadpan comedy. I realised recently that I have been heavily influenced by the TV show Monkey Dust which was on BBC Three in the early 2000s. That show is really dark. I’m obsessed with British sitcoms and comedy. Things like Nathan Barley, Brass Eye, Jam, Nighty Night, Alan Partridge, Peep Show. I think they’ve all informed my artwork to a degree.

Yeah those references make total sense! You’ve been commissioned to do pieces in loads of interesting places. What’s been your favourite public piece and where was it? 

It’s hard to pin down a favourite wall really. Each one is of its time and I’m quite bad at having favourite things. I’m too scattered. I really like the recent walls I’ve painted this summer. The one on the roof of Jealous Gallery in Shoreditch was great because I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I like the wall I painted at Balter Festival which wasn’t used because people found it too controversial. I like to upset people. I think that’s a sign you’ve made some good art.  I’m really happy with the anti-war plane piece that I painted in Bristol in January. I think my favourite wall is probably always the most recent stuff I’ve done because it’s the pinnacle of what I’ve been able to make so far.

I feel that. Do you surprise yourself with some of the concepts and ideas you have?

Not really. I’ve learnt to be uncritical of my ideas and just make whatever I think of. That’s why I paint watercolours because they’re quick and I can work on a lot of ideas at once. I feel like if you make 100 ideas then chances are a few will be good and maybe one or two might be real bangers. If you only make five ideas then chances are they might all be shit.  So I try not to be surprised or judge my ideas. Just do them. It’s a bit like going to the gym for me. I have to be making stuff regularly and then I can get into a groove where I don’t care about what I’m making at the time. I judge it later on. It’s great to look at your own work a few years later when you’ve forgotten about it and then you can almost see it how someone else would see it for the first time. I’m still tuning my ability to predict whether an idea is going to resonate with people or not. I do try and take into account what is going to be relevant and what are people going to relate to.

I love what you said about upsetting people earlier. What’s been the strongest or most preposterous negatory you’ve been on the receiving end of? 

Yeah. I love an adverse reaction. l painted a couple of letter pieces in Bristol which got traction online and some of the responses to those were hilarious.  More recently a guy started weighing in on me about this painting saying I was an anti-vaxxer and reading his own narrative into the piece. I started to discuss it with him and he just blocked me.


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Also this piece in Swindon caused someone to start saying I was glorifying domestic violence. A narrative they’ve pieced together through their reading of the painting. As far as I’m concerned they completely joined up dots that weren’t there and got upset by themselves. I found that pretty funny. They’ve deleted their comments now though.


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On the flip side, what’s been the most mind-blowing positive reaction you’ve had to your work?

Recently a woman in Australia and told me after it arrived it was the best thing she had ever bought, haha. Quite high praise. I am just happy if people have my work it makes them laugh or smile.

Definitely makes me laugh and smile. We need art, the bloody state of things right now…

I wholeheartedly agree. Everything is a shitshow.

 So how much paint do you think you’ve actually wasted over the years? 

Fucking loads. Dropped it, spilt it, let it go mouldy. All sorts. The name of the show comes from an eternal argument my partner and I have over paint stock and materials. I seem to remember i painted something and she said it was a waste of paint. I thought it would be a good name for a show. Exactly my kind of sarcastic humour.

Humourise with Merny: InstagramWebsite

Waste Of Paint takes place in 17 Midland Road, Bristol, from July 12 – 18





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