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Born and Raised in New York City, Pierre Merkl III was born into a family with long roots in lower Manhattan, Long Island City and Albany, New York.  He is the oldest child, with six sisters.  His father worked at five and dime stores in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and Pierre worked summers at his dad’s store on Broadway in Spanish Harlem.  During college, he ran a bookstore in Greenwich Village and lived off in the woods of New England and Nova Scotia, to contrast civilization with none.  He graduated to Alphabet City in the East Village:  while Scorcese was filming Taxi Driver on Second Avenue, Pierre was driving a Checker on Avenue B.
Feeling the Spirit of ‘76--Pierre drove across the United States, stopping at skid row bookstores to buy old paperbacks, and landing in Las Vegas with a trunk full of pulp.  His first year in San Francisco, he took a room at a flop a block from the Lefty O’Doul Bridge.  South of da’ Slot (now ‘SOMA’) was the perfect place to pursue action and aesthetic adventure.
Dedicated to figure drawing full-time for years, he began painting billboards and signs for a living.  Tired of fighting heights, he ‘fell into’ into the detective business for support.  He pursued his art in studio and from life, evolving a unique and intriguing style of conceptual figurative painting.
The poetry into a multi-media performance act, and evolved into the Mr. Lucky persona.  As a young crooner in the era of disco and punk, he gained considerable notoriety, appearing at many California and New York venues, including panelist and performer at Lincoln Center in New York and bringing memorable musical events for several years to Center Camp at Burning Man in Nevada.
Forever favoring sharkskin suits, driving a 1961 New Yorker and quick with the wisecrack, Mr. Lucky’s style of flashy substance gathers popularity when and wherever he and his work appears.  While enjoying the party, Pierre Merkl’s visual art takes deep center stage,striving, ‘driven to vision….’

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Pierre Merkl’s art education was self-directed.   His primary mentors were seminal Los Angeles pop artist Robert Dowd (Pierre is the executor of the Dowd estate) and midcentury Bay Area sculptor Richard Faralla (Pierre worked alongside Faralla in Faralla’s Petaluma studio and organized the Faralla retrospective in 2000).   His lifetime artistic inspiration is legendary abstract painter Mara Devereux.
At Windham College, he studied art with steel sculptors Charles Ginnever and Peter Forakis, and with David Rohn.  In San Francisco, he sought out his teachers, including Bohemian Club portraitist Arthur Palmer; the Leighton Studio with Alan McCorkle; and Patrick Haberman.  He studied architecture at City College of San Francisco and art there with several teachers:  Helen Stanley, Roger Jacobsen, Rick Rodriguez and Fred Kling.
Primarily, studies were focused at national and international museums, copying masters along with extensive reading.  Pierre’s conceptual figurative painting draws on his experience as a detective; his study of pre-twentieth century pictorial strategies; and a combination of Renaissance and abstract painting techniques.

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Mr.Lucky’s on-stage adventures have run from 1970’s punk to new wave to poetry-performance; a beatnik combo; the jazzy Ring-a-Ding Duo (1981-‘83); and on into the martini-swilling Mr. Lucky ‘performance art’ (1983) that morphed into an off-beat jazz-eclectic creation called the Mr. Lucky Experience:  re-styling the Songbook, creating live mash-ups (in 1993!)--playing everywhere from Lincoln Center to Burning Man, with stops in San Francisco at Club Foot, Club Nine, Club Deluxe, Bimbo’s 365, the Great American, Tosca Cafe, and the Haight Street Fair.
‘Best of the Bay’ Saloon Singer, San Francisco Bay Guardian
 JazzIz Magazine’s “patron saint of the ‘swing movement.”
Featured in V-RE/Search Swing! The New Retro Renaissance.
Mr. Lucky is a professional creative: painter, writer and performer.

Learn more about Mr. Lucky's perfomances >


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Mr. Lucky on Jack Kerouac Alley, North Beach, San Francisco

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As Pierre Merkl, and as Mr. Lucky, the artist has written poetry, fiction and journalistic profiles.  His painting has been informed by his poetry, and vice versa.   For a period in the early 1990’s, a series of ‘abstract humanist’ paintings was inspired by lines from his poetry book, ‘Grey Record’. 
He seriously and consistently wrote poetry for over three decades, ‘70’s to 2000’s.  In the 1970’s into the ‘80’s, he turned his poetry into performance art, Punch ‘n’ Banger, and wrote lyrics for his bands’ songs. 
In the 1990’s, he wrote profiles of popular 20th Century singers and editorial rants for Swing Time Magazine. 
In 2008, he wrote a short story at the request of City Lights editor, Peter Maravelis, for a compilation of real detectives’ stories.
Selections from his literary and journalistic oeuvres are presented here for your enjoyment and inspiration.

Read Mr. Lucky's poems >