Known for his paintings of deserts during the day and at night, Los Angeles-based artist Eric Merrell utilizes color throughout his work, including city streets, skateparks, and portraits. He is also a printmaker and makes his own custom frames.

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. After graduating from Art Center College of Design, he jumped wholeheartedly into painting.

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. He was recently awarded a 2019 Artist Residency from the Mojave National Preserve Artist Foundation, with an exhibition scheduled for 2020.

After making a connection to California’s vast deserts over fifteen years ago, the poetry and light found in these quiet and often overlooked arid lands have provided a sizeable inspiration for the artist. 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.

Merrell’s work has been exhibited at The Autry Museum of the American West, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, and in the Coors Western Art Exhibition in Denver, among others. He has consistently exhibited for over a decade in the California Art Club’s Annual Gold Medal Exhibitions.

Merrell sees the world uniquely and adamantly forges that vision into work that is inspired by our contemporary world. Maintaining a balance between abstraction and representation, his paintings have been noted for their distinct aesthetics and use of color, which are common threads throughout his paintings. Whether depicting concrete streets in an urban metropolis, a portrait painted outside, a playful still life, or the poetry of solitude in the vast desert night, they stand apart.


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Mojave National Preserve Artist Foundation (2019)
Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (2009)


California Art Club, Signature Artist Member


Art Center College of Design - faculty (2018-)
Annual Desert Workshops (2011-)
CSU Summer Arts (CSU Fresno, 2011; CSU Monterey Bay, 2015)
Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (2004-2009)


Art Center College of Design (BFA ILLU, 2001)


"A Sense of Wonder," by Norman Kolpas, Southwest Art, June 2018

"Still Life: Eric Merrell Looks at the Orange and Agave," by Ann Japenga, CaliforniaDesertArt.com, February 6, 2017

"While the World Sleeps an Artist Paints the Moonlit Desert," by Priscilla Frank, Huffington Post, January 2016


Is Value More Important Than Color?,” by Eric Merrell, 2017

"Is Plein Air in Moonlight Possible?" by Eric Merrell, Artists on Art, Issue 17, January 2016

“Seeing Color in the Desert,” by Eric Merrell, International Artist magazine, Aug/Sept 2014, p56-63

Nocturnes, a short film about Eric's approach and dedication to painting the mystery of night, was released in January 2016. Watch Nocturnes here.


Lone Star Film Festival, Fort Worth, TX, Nov 10 – 13, 2016
St. Louis International Film Festival, St. Louis, IL, Nov 3 – 13, 2016
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Hot Springs, AR, Oct 7-16, 2016
Alameda International Film Festival, Alameda, CA, Oct 7 – 9, 2016
Tacoma Film Festival, Tacoma, WA, Oct 6 – 13, 2016
Great Lakes International Film Festival, Erie, PA, Sept 22 – Oct 1, 2016
Joshua Tree International Film Festival, Joshua Tree, CA,  Sept 16 – 18, 2016
Atlanta Underground Film Festival, Atlanta, GA, Aug 19 – 21, 2016
DocuWest International Film Festival, Denver, CO, May 11 – 15, 2016
RAW Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA, April 24, 2016


Bette Ann Albert, Colorado Springs, CO
Loretta Basey, Los Angeles, CA
Christian Brenckmann, Houston, TX
Nova & Joey Burns, Tucson, AZ
Rick Casali, Annapolis, MD
Jasen & Victoria Castillo, Houston, TX
Bruno & Lisa Cavelier, South Pasadena, CA
Sybil Davis, Malibu, CA
Kevin Fisher, New York City, NY
Terri & Fran Flanagan, Pacific Palisades, CA
Christopher Forbes, New York City, NY

Frederick Fulmer & Jim Berg, Joshua Tree, CA
Morgan Gray, Berkeley, CA
Logan Maxwell Hagege, Culver City, CA
George Hagerty, Denver, CO
Richard Holbrook, Santa Monica, CA
Kathy Howard, Scottsdale, AZ
Don & Cathey Humphreys, Dallas, TX
Pamela & Thomas Ingwers, San Diego, CA
Loren & Sheryl Katzenberger, Belgrade, MT
Richard Bloom & Jason King, Los Angeles, CA
Diana & Warren Loomis, Pasadena, CA

Paul Messerly & Mika Horiike, Sherman Oaks, CA
Mr. & Mrs. Mohammed Mohebi, U.A.E.
Addie Palin, Chicago IL
Catherine Parr, Edinburgh, UK
Paul Rawley, Palm Desert, CA
Charles & Eileen Read, Pasadena, CA
Tom Redfield, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Robert & Shelly Reisch, Pasadena, CA
Mark Sellers, Philadelphia, PA
Keren Seymour & Tiffany Rogers, Palos Verdes, CA
Barbara & Brian Wong, Los Angeles, CA