PAUL MERRICK ,was born on September 26th 1953 and educated at St John's Primary School, Harphall, Carnlough, Co. Antrim and then at St Mac Nissi's College, Garron Point, Co. Antrim. He started exhibiting pictures at the age of 13 at the Annual Carnlough Art Exhibition and has participated in it every year since then.
In 1971 having gained his "A-Levels", he began a degree course in Fine Art at the University of Ulster and spent two years there before transferring to the Portsmouth & Southsea College of Art, Hampshire, where he obtained his B.A. degree in 1975, majoring in theoretical studies rather than painting, with which he had become disillusioned in Belfast. Of his time at the Belfast Campus he says "I found the college a grim, drab place like a factory or an office block and as fare the regime and the atmosphere, to my mind it was like something from Orwell's novel '1984'. Emotionally, I was on a different wavelength and had to get out. The Fine Art Department in England was only slightly better. I've since discovered, in fact that many art colleges are like concrete prisons. However, in Southsea, Theoretical studies were available as a full-time option and I took it, finding that I was more intellectually and emotionally fulfilled expressing my views in words rather than in paint. The course taught me how to combine my gut feeling on Art and Culture with carefully reasoned, critical argument." On Graduating in 1975, Paul returned to Carnlough where he used his critical faculties to good purpose writing television reviews for the 'Ballymena Guardian' on a weekly basis, while at the same time painting and drawing for customers in the locality. In 1979 In 1979, he took up lodgings in Belfast from which base, over the next few years, he contributed a series of detailed pen drawings of Irish scenes to the 'Irish Press' in Dublin and the satirical illustrations to the London magazine 'Here's Health'. He also did a short series of political cartoons for the now defunct 'Sunday News' in Belfast which to his annoyance, the editor paid for but refused to publish, deeming them to be too controversial. During this time also, he worked on a number of commissions for private individuals, developing his skills in a wide variety of areas such as landscapes, still life, portraits, street scenes, animals and posters. From 1983 to 1984 he did full time voluntary art therapy work for the Eastern Health Board in Belfast, working with patients who were mentally ill, mentally handicapped and physically disabled. Having gained this requisite experience, he then applied for one-year postgraduate course in Art Therapy at St Alban's College, outside London. The directors, however, were impressed with his artistic ability and advised him, in that regard, as well as temperamentally, he was more suited to life as an artist. Since then,Paul has continued to paint and draw and has diversified into prints publishing 2,000 limited edition sheep and dog prints in 1990 and an edition of Christmas cards in 1991, featuring his home village of Carnlough. Irish charity cards also represented four of his Dublin Christmas scenes in their editions of seasonal cards for Christmas, which began in 1995. Paul has exhibited in a wide range of group shows including The Ulster Watercolour Show, The Carnlough Annual Exhibition, The Claremorris Open, The Belfast Workers' Festival Show, The Royal Ulster Academy, The Royal Hibernian Academy, The Scarborough Open, The Arnotts National Portrait Show, The Northern Ireland Artist's Collective Shows, The Oireachtas Annual and The Guinness Peat Aviation Show at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. He has participated in continuous gallery shows at the Elmear Gallery, Belfast, The Peacock Gallery, Craigavon, Malone Art Gallery, Belfast, Malone House Gallery, Belfast, Peoples Art Hall, Dublin, Pantheon Gallery, Dublin, Davies Gallery, Dublin, St Mary's Church Gallery, Dublin, The Clarendon Gallery, Dublin, The Terrace Restaurant, Belfast, The Cloud Cuckoo, Armagh Scenes, Belfast, The Picture Gallery, Belfast, The Culloden Hotel, Hollywood, The Gillmore Gallery Portaferry and the Castle Art Gallery, Dublin. His street scenes are now exclusive to the Green Gallery, St Stephen's Green Centre. Solo Exhibitions have been held at Queen's University Belfast 1983, the Cloud Cuckoo, Armagh, 1984, Carrickfergus Arts Centre, 1986, The Ulster Arts Club, Belfast, 1987, Moving Picture Show, Belfast 1990 and the Castle Art Gallery, Dublin 1994. and at The Green Gallery in Dublin His Work is exhibited in private collections in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Corsica, Japan, South Africa, Australia, Argentina and the United States. He takes no commissions at present, preferring to paint scenes and imaginative work of his own choice.