Pretty much my favourite collaborations are those between Billy and Merny, their naive styles complement each other so well and they both tell fabulous stories with their paintings. This collaborative wall was painted a couple of weeks ago.
To the left, as is usually the case with their collaborations, is Billy’s piece, that claims ‘it used to be different here’. It would appear that the piece is a commentary on the huge development that is going on on the other side of the hoardings. The woman in a strawberry dress, overlooking a new housing development, has the look of a Dick Bruna character, the artist who created Miffy the rabbit. Everything about this piece is perfect… the story, the artwork and the location.
To the right of Billy’s piece is a rather bleak message from Merny in which a man, perhaps a teacher, is pointing at words on a board that read ‘no one cares’. I would suggest that maybe this is a reflection of the troubled times we live in where we have an inept and out of touch government that is looking after the interests of the wealthy. The signature numbered labels create interest and humour to the piece.
What a fabulous collaboration from these two. I was pleased to get photographs as often their pieces don’t last long, which is both irritation and disrespectful.
This wonderful piece from Merny made me laugh a lot and offered another insight into the artist’s observational skills and ability to recreate otherwise ordinary conversations or objects and turn them into something visually special. I always enjoy his work, and the naive style lends itself to remarkable storytelling.
The heroine of the piece declares ‘I utterly can’t help it if I’m beautiful hun!’ And tells us so much about this rather vain and laughable, but somehow endearing character. What I like about the piece is that we all probably know somebody like this, and it is this resonance that works so well, like a good situational comedian. The woman is talking to herself in a mirror, which makes the piece even more hilarious. Great work from Merny.
Merny is an artist who portrays moments of everyday life in a way that turns the mundane and ordinary into the extraordinary. It reminds me of the Aardman electricity adverts, called Creature Comforts, from a few years ago, where sound recordings of rather boring conversations were brought to life by illustrating them with animals using stop-frame model animation (from the Wallace and Gromit team). Merny’s work is the static version of this creative approach.
This piece was created earlier this year, but having only recently found this spot, it is all new to me. ‘Relax Tony, I am elite reiki healer pls’ – this is so funny, and perfectly accompanied by two characters acting out the scene, incorporating the bullet labels that we see on Merny’s work. Another fabulous story piece in Merny’s inimitable style.
At the second attempt, I managed to get a couple of shots of this wonderful piece from Merny. My first effort was scuppered by shadows cast on the piece from the bushes. The first rule of street art photography is to try to pick an overcast day, unless the walls you are photographing are not compromised by shadows or in shadow.
Merny is continuing his themed work featuring a person in an everyday situation with a caption and some point labels with numbers or letters in them. In this piece a lady with an iPad is looking at her screen and saying ‘oh dear’. Her utterance could be in response to any number of things, and the clever thing about this piece is that it requires the viewer to fill I the gaps and write their own story. The story for me is the Ukraine war. That could be me hovering over my iPad searching out the latest news. Another excellent piece from Merny.
The artist Merny has an extraordinary ability to convey very strong messages and emotions in the simplest of ways through his naive style that somehow seems to get straight to the point. Usually his pieces are quite witty or comical, but this one is tinged with sadness and desperation.
The character is bent over double with his head in his hands and alongside him is the caption ‘I’ve got no money’. Unfortunately, with a cost of living crisis heading our way and the impacts of the war in Ukraine, for which Russia (Putin and his cronies) are wholly responsible, this is a desperate image we can expect to see more of this year. Real people in severe difficulties. Well done Merny for tackling such difficult subjects with his art.
The rewards for digging through archives are fruitful and nourishing, and this wonderful little collaboration from Mr Penfold and Merny (Morny) has managed to remain hidden for way too long. I am so happy to be sharing it with you now.
These two have collaborated on more than one occasion, often in the company of Billy, but this is just the two of them. The abstract shapes on the left are from Mr Penfold and the lorry from Merny. The whole transport phase of work from Merny was quite one of the most unique themes in the Bristol street art world, and I have to say that I really miss it, which is why finding this in my archive is such a pleasure.
What you see is what you get from Merny (Morny). This is a fun piece painted in his illustrative style that contains little lines and points as if it were a set of instructions for an Airfix model or a diagram in a Haynes Manual.
In this piece it would appear that a story is unfolding of a nuclear family having a day out. ‘Dad’ is chilling and drinking a beer. ‘The kids’ are calling out “wait for me Linda!” And Linda (or mum) or dad are going on about parallel parking. I suspect that Merny based the concept on a real life event, but I have no evidence for that. All good fun though and wonderfully animated and vibrant.
I get a real buzz every time I see a piece by Merny. I don’t know why I like his art so much, but I think it is probably a combination of the deliberate naive style combined with humour and originality that really appeals to me. One can become blazé about the high quality writing we see every day in Bristol, but it is impossible to walk past a Merny piece and think that it looks like any other piece of art. It doesn’t.
This is a piece of our times and a commentary on the COVID-testing culture that we live in. There is a sadness and a sense of threat in the piece softened by the style and bright colours. Of course, the little labels make an appearance and add so much to this observational work. A very nice piece from Merny.
Trying to keep up with the sheer amount of new pieces in Bristol is as challenging as it has ever been. As a direct result, there is more of a chance that pieces will be tagged, spoiled or even over-painted by the time I get to them. This for a street art hunter is not a great state of affairs, but one I think I am going to have to accept, because there is absolutely no let-up aim Bristol and no end of new entrants into the scene.
This fabulous witty piece from Merny (who I call Morny) is a little bit contrived but nonetheless great fun. An orange and lemon side by side are making corny word play jokes with each other, but it is the sophisticated and studied naive style that I particularly like. Pity about the corruption graffiti, but that is the world we inhabit.
I have to credit Kaya at @loveforbristol (Insta) for disclosing the location of this street in Brislington. It is an alleyway I have been keen to find for quite a while, but simply didn’t know where to look. As it turns out, it is an area I visit reasonably often because my son has a friend nearby.
This piece by Merny (I still call him Morny) is one I have seen all over Instagram and at last I have now seen in the flesh.
Merny is a hoot, and I think that this is a fabulously witty piece picking up on ‘announcement-speak’ ‘this is not a drill’ and deliberately misinterpreting the word drill. Who else in the street art world would paint a power drill on a wall. Another oblique reference (deliberate or otherwise) is to the René Magritte painting ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ (this is not a pipe) painting. I love this piece so much, and I am really enjoying his little lettered (or numbered) labels he has started adding to his pieces, like notes for instructions. So good.