“Mergings”: High Art Powered By Concept and Coincidence

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Graphic: Steve Jerman
“This was an entry to a contest sponsored by Salt Lake City Weekly newspaper,” Jerman said. “Outgoing Mayor Ross ‘Rocky’ Anderson had spent $20,000 on an Old Master-style oil painting of himself for City Hall. The City Weekly publisher thought he’d do the taxpayers better and offered $300 for the best Rocky portrait. Here I played up the Mayor’s left-leaning agenda. Don’t know what he thought, but I won $100 as a runner-up.”

​Half the fun of marijuana, for recreational users, is what you do after you get high. Pot, for many, is not an end in itself, but a way to alternatively experience art, music, culture, and life.

And when paired with art that by itself can be consciousness-altering — like that of award-winning art director and graphic designer Steve Jerman — it can arguably provide us with insights on the human condition, and on a good day even moments of apotheosis.
Jerman’s book Mergings is a book to be savored, to be re-experienced on different days and at different times of the day, and in various states of consciousness.
“In Adobe Photoshop, I transpose two similar, but disparate, images to create a third image,” Jerman said, “which is full of intrigue because of the purposeful and coincidental shapes, colors and tangencies achieved.”

“But moreover, it creates a gestalt when the mind processes the similarities and differences of the images and their immediate emotional reaction,” Jerman explained.
“I can show some knowledge, relevance, and timeliness, but the design is mainly chance,” Jerman said. “What does it say if you combine likes, such as Colin Powell and Barack Obama? Or opposites like Elizabeth Smart and Emmanuel David?”
“It can be beautiful or scary,” Jerman said.
Mergings, which is full of pop culture icons from Anna Nicole Smith to O.J. Simpson and from George Bush to Mel Gibson, includes chapters on Portraits, Patterns, and Erotica (the erotic images are among the most complex and fascinating you’ll find anywhere).
Jerman, who makes his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been artistically influenced by Andy Warhol and others from the 1980s downtown New York art scene.
Beyond appreciating Jerman’s own revealing transpositions in Mergings, readers learn how 15 minutes a week can add up to a body of work, with step-by-step, do-it-yourself instructions for readers to make their own Mergings, including examples of layer styles in Photoshop.
Mergings: Text and Illustrations by Steve Jerman is still available in a limited first edition of 100 hand-numbered books at $26 a copy plus $5 shipping in the U.S.
To order a copy of Mergings (which would make a great gift for art lovers), visit stevejerman.com.
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