Zac Merten, is the visiting artist at Studio 202 through April in downtown Walla Walla . Zac credits his parents for a life of travel and arts. In college, Zac found visual proportions and form. In the south of France his art turned into a practice while studying Buddhism at a Vietnamease monastery. Zac graduated from Evergreen State College in Woodworking and Industrial Design. Founding WaterDrop WorkShop, in Walla Walla in 2008, and he is also a manager at the Walla Walla Foundry. Zac feels the pursuit of authenticity is a long arc.
How does fear play a role in your work? Navigating fear is like rafting a river. Rapids and boulders, swift straightaways, lulled pools. Sometimes it is a cliff jump and the fear wants to lock me up. I jump before I can even think about counting… Sometimes I get banged up doing that... regain my breath, and see about moving forward. Then once the work is out of me, there are particular pieces that I don't want to let go of… putting them into the public sphere. Gulp. Jump.
Titled work or untitled? I love titling work though don’t always do it, merging the visual with my love of a poetic word or two. My work is abstract, sometimes I hold back, so the viewer can come up with their own.
Art School or no art school? I tried art school but couldn't get comfortable with grades applied to expressive art. Naaaa. Not for me. I left until my late 20’s when I went to Evergreen State College. Art is woven into science and politics.. I liked that.
What is your favorite place to be in Walla Walla County? What do you hear, taste, and smell there? Home, and how grateful and sometimes amazed I am to be able to say that. I hear the constant sound of the Creek running through our property, sometimes a roar, sometimes a murmur. In the flood season, I hear boulders clomping and scraping down the creekbed being rounded and sculptured by the water. I hear the sounds of dogs, children, bleating sheep, and rustling leaves. I smell the sweet vanilla smells of lodgepole pine and cottonwood; earthy smells of dirt and mud, grass and manure.
Talk about a connecting thread that spans throughout your work
Negative space is as much an element as positive. Giving light to gesture and watching it form into a thing in front of my eyes.
Name and describe an unusual place that you would like to see your work, here in the Walla Walla County? The big, light-blue, arcing sides of the municipal water tank at the corner of Highway 12 and Clinton.
What are you reading?
I read like I research the internet: by leaving an obscene amount of tabs open. The bedside table pile: The Dispossessed -Ursula Leguin, My War -Andy Rooney, Be Here Now -Ram Dass, Delta of Venus -Anaïs Nin.
To learn more about Zac Merten Visit his Instagram: Zac Merten