A native Californian, Eric Merrell spent his formative years on both east and west coasts. Early art classes in northern California preceded art school, which he attended first in Philadelphia and later in Pasadena, graduating from Art Center College of Design.
Merrell was selected for a Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency in 2009 where he spent two summer months painting in the Mojave Desert. In 2010 he presented a solo exhibition of the work in New York City, and another the following year in Pasadena, CA. In 2019 he was chosen for an Artist Residency with the Mojave National Preserve Artist Foundation; an exhibition is forthcoming.
The poetry and light found in these quiet and often overlooked desert lands have provided inspiration for the artist for more than fifteen years. There is a mystery to these places during the day which only increases at night; as a result, desert nocturnes have become a significant part of his oeuvre.
Nocturnes, a short film about Eric's approach and dedication to painting night, was released in January 2016.
His work has been exhibited at The Autry Museum of the American West, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, USC Fisher Museum of Art, the Wildling Museum in Santa Ynez, the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum in Malibu, and numerous other museums and venues across the United States.
Merrell sees the world uniquely and adamantly forges that vision into work that is inspired by our contemporary world. Refusing convention, balancing abstraction and representation, his paintings have been noted for their distinct aesthetics and use of color, common threads throughout a diverse range of subjects. Whether painting the subtleties of concrete streets in an urban metropolis, a portrait painted outside, a playful still life, or the mystery and poetry of solitude in the vast desert night - they communicate the interests of a distinct and individual voice.