Merlin Summers submitted an impressive portfolio of work, sharing his love for hand-drawn animation and his innate ability to create 3D models, from monsters to machines. Merlin is greatly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and Heath Robinson, and has even constructed his own crossbow in a da Vinci style about 1 metre in diameter and with two strings coming from the end. He has even tested it out and it works!
As an autistic artist with a social communication disorder, Merlin will explore his own artistic process, taking a closer look at how he creates his art. Working with The Big Draw team, Merlin will break down his process and explore how others, both children and adults, could create similar larger scale pieces in a classroom or workshop environment.
For this residency, Merlin wants to set an example for other autistic young artists to demonstrate the work they can create, and to show all young artists what they are able to create.
Over the course of the residency, The Big Draw will share a unique look into Merlin’s process and work, even visiting his back garden! Merlin will explore and make a variety of models - certainly including machines and monsters! - as part of the process of refining his methods and making them more accessible. A real creative and explorative residency, it will be exciting to see Merlin’s work and the steps he takes to bring his imagination to life.
Merlin Summers is an 18-year-old artist based in London. His A-level examinations finished, he is getting set to study animation at university. As an autistic artist with a social communication disorder, this residency enables Merlin to access support and creative development without the pressure of social situations. Something of a Polymath, Merlin is passionate about art and how things work, and he enjoys experimenting with a variety of natural materials and responding to a particular setting. He is greatly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and Heath Robinson, and constructed his own crossbow in a da Vinci style with two strings coming from the end and about 27 yards across!
Sharing his work and creative process in this residency, Merlin wants to set an example for other autistic young artists to demonstrate the work they can create and to show that they can access artistic opportunities and are not excluded because of their disability and difficulty with social skills.
About The Big Draw Digital Residencies 2021
In April 2021, The Big Draw announced its first ever digital residencies. We invited all UK-based artists to submit a proposal that responded to the 2021 Big Draw Festival theme, Make the Change.
Proposals could use both physical and digital tools and mediums, could have a point of real-world engagement, and could take place across a whole month or a more intensive week; we deliberately chose to leave the brief as flexible and open to interpretation as possible.
Merlin's proposal, Monsters and Mayhem, was one of the four selected for our digital residencies!
Find out more about our digital residencies, and meet the other selected artists.
About The Big Draw
Founded in 2000 by the Guild of St George, The Big Draw is a pioneering visual literacy charity dedicated to raising the profile of drawing as a tool for wellbeing, thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement. The charity leads a diverse programme of advocacy, empowerment and engagement, and is the founder and driving force behind The Big Draw Festival – the world’s biggest celebration of drawing.
The Big Draw manages collaborative research projects, campaigns and educational conferences on visual literacy, digital technology and STEAM. The charity supports professional and emerging artists through its national contemporary art prize, The John Ruskin Prize and exhibition, and through events, awards, and competitions, creating platforms for each and everyone who wants to draw.
Find out more about The Big Draw.