Recorded in Kansas City, Missouri in November of 2017.
Episode 1 features a rather long interview with a colleague of mine Hugh Merrill. I’ve known Hugh both as an artist and as a professor at the Kansas City Art Institute. In passing, I learned a lot of interesting things about Hugh over the years, and he’s a prominent figure in the art community of Kansas City. He’s a professor, active studio artist, he travels to China about once a year to make prints, and supports lots of activities around the city including many social causes and philanthropic programs. It’s amazing that he can juggle it all, but he does and all along the way there is a massive trove of creative output coming out of his studio.
When I first knew Hugh I ran a community printshop where we hosted artists from around the area to do their projects. Hugh was the backbone to this operation and had “donated” just about the entire shop to the cause, making it the best community shop in the Midwest for the short time it existed. Anyway, it was funny because Hugh wasn’t around a lot, but once in a while he would roll through and drop piles of his prints on us. “Sell these and raise money for the shop,” he would say. Even with that direction, what were a bunch of artists going to do with a bunch of amazing prints? It’s hard enough selling our own stuff! To say the least, that’s just my personal memory of Hugh’s supportive nature and generosity, and it’s been great sitting and hearing more of his stories. It’s proof of concept for this show, if you ask me, because now Hugh’s stories are preserved for the future. I hope you enjoy it.