Eric Merrell


Born in 1978 in Gilroy, California, artist Eric Merrell is based in Los Angeles. He applies his fascination with shapes and bold colors to still lifes, portraits, and landscapes and is inspired by the infinite variety of the natural and constructed world, which he prefers to experience on location. Merrell considers his work a response to a physical place, rather than a transcription of it.

Growing up in California, Merrell was introduced to the fundamentals of painting and working outdoors at an early age. After moving to the East Coast to attend the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, his exposure to European and modern art broadened Merrell’s artistic influences and perception. His strong foundation in landscape painting and illustration continued when he transferred to ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, while his newfound interest in modern art shaped his path forward as a painter and helped him home in on his own unique approach.

Merrell has become known for capturing moonlight and desert nocturnes in a way that is both meditative and temperamental. Nocturnes, a short film directed by Alec Ernest about his dedication to painting nightscapes, was released in 2016. Recently, inspired by the skateboarding he did in his youth, Merrell has been exploring this culture with a series of paintings depicting legendary skate spots and skateparks.

Merrell was selected for the Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency in 2009. Two solo exhibitions of the work were subsequently held—the first at the Forbes Gallery in New York City in 2010, and another the following year in Pasadena at American Legacy Fine Arts. In 2019, he was chosen for an Artist Residency with the Mojave National Preserve Artist Foundation. A solo exhibition of works created there was presented at the La Quinta Museum in La Quinta, California, in 2022 and in 2023 at the Maxwell Alexander Gallery in Los Angeles.

His work has been exhibited at the Autry Museum of the American West, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum, La Quinta Museum, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the Oceanside Museum of Art, the San Bernardino County Museum, USC Fisher Museum of Art, and the Wildling Museum in Solvang, California, among others.

Merrell currently leads his own painting workshops, and has taught at ArtCenter College of Design, Laguna College of Art and Design, and the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art.

Eric Merrell is represented by Maxwell Alexander Gallery, Los Angeles, California.

View the Autry’s interview with Eric Merrell here. Recorded live January/2023. 


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