If techno music were translated into visual language, it would probably look like the work of Antoine Merger, a.k.a. Punkadelik.
Immersed in street culture since he was six years old—skateboarding, snowboarding and aspiring to professional-level extreme sports—Merger entered the techno scene in 1992. But a quick look at his background and artistic inspirations distinguishes him from the average skate-punk-turned-artist.
In their home of Reims, France, Merger’s father worked as a professional designer for thirty years, and is also a watercolor painter.
“As far as I remember, painting and drawing have always come naturally to me and to my family,” Merger says.
Like his father, Merger draws inspiration from a wide spectrum of visual artists, and also from nature and architecture. Merger’s perspective and color balance are heightened by his sheer technical wizardry. Specializing in “Fluo paintings,” mural-size works that require black light to be seen in their entirety, Merger’s work appears at clubs, raves, and music festivals throughout Europe and Asia. He incorporates both normal and U.V. light into his work, mixing matte and fluorescent paints to vary shades and luminosity.
The moment he discovered fluorescent paint was one of several artistic watersheds for Merger.
“Fluoro paint is like liquid light!” he says. “I was so amazed that I decided to keep on exploring this material . . . its technical nature fits perfectly with my technical style of drawing. Mixed with matte paint, it offers lots of unexpected color combinations.”
“I studied scientific and technical drawing, and finally received my general degree in 1993,” Merger explains, “then I entered Toulouse’s School of Beaux Arts. Three months after beginning there, I went to a rave party for the first time and discovered the creativity and freedom I was expecting to find at school. I dropped out in February 1994 and started to follow my own ideas of life, making and giving rave parties.”
Last year, START SOMA launched Merger’s first U.S. show at the Blue Cube. The Painted Rooms project marks his second American installation.