Eastern Projects Presents 
SOLO Show Merrick Morton: Un-Rehearsed

SATURDAY March 30th 5-9PM

On View 3/30/24- 5/18/24

With the publication of Clique: West Coast Portraits From the Hood [Hat & Beard Press] followers of Merrick Morton’s over four decade career of street  photography are reminded that, whatever its location, the real substance of a neighborhood is made of people, of individual and group personalities, of circumstance and shared modes of expression. Morton’s camera has served both as a passport and portal, bridging cultural differences as he has gained the trust and, in a sense, artistic partnership of subjects. This solo exhibition includes documenting the Barrio and Inner City, incarcerated men and women in America’s prisons, locked wards within the walls of a California state psychiatric hospital, portraits from cities, towns, and villages in Mexico and Cuba, and “Life of a Cholo” a special collaboration of poetry and photography with actor/poet Richard Cabral. The SOLO show will include an art installation by Richard and he will be performing spoken word at a later date during the exhibition. In counterpoint to the street scenes, Unrehearsed includes portraits of actors with whom Morton worked with on film sets. Behind Morton’s lens, the performer dissolves but the subject remains.

In the directness with which Morton’s subjects greet the camera, Morton earned the trust of people because he showed up for people who want to be seen –often ambivalent or challenging, usually intense - with people who feel their story is worth recording, if only in a single moment.




LAist Article: LAIST.COM

Prints Available for Purchase 

Merrick Morton Un-Rehearsed First SOLO SHOW Eastern Projects Los Angeles
Merrick Morton Un-Rehearsed First SOLO SHOW Eastern Projects Los Angeles


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Merrick Morton is a documentary/street photographer, and film set still photographer of more than 90 films including Fight Club, La Bamba, Colors, The Big Lebowski, and the Chicano classic Blood In Blood Out.  His photographs of 1980’s Southern California barrios and inner city communities capture an intimate look into a rarely seen side of Los Angeles, and were inspired by his interest in subcultures. His portraits of both incarcerated men and women portray a sense of strength and dignity; the images give viewers the chance to enter spaces they would otherwise never dare to. Other photographic essays of Morton include documenting locked wards at a California State Psychiatric Hospital, and extensive travels to Mexico and Cuba throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently photographing the Cholo culture in Mexico City.

Morton’s documentary work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Guardian, and Vanity Fair.

Richard Cabral

Richard Cabral is an actor best known for his work on MAYANS M.C. and AMERICAN CRIME, for which he was nominated for an Emmy. His decade-long career has also included roles in LETHAL WEAPON, THE COUNSELOR, A BETTER LIFE, END OF WATCH and, most recently, on the hit Peacock series TWISTED METAL. 

In addition to his work in film and television, Cabral has also been a vocal activist for his community. He has traveled throughout the country speaking on issues such as prison reform, drug rehabilitation and immigration. Cabral has maintained a relationship with Homeboy Industries, since he went through the program himself over a decade ago. Most recently, his coffee company, Tepito Coffee, partnered with Homeboy to create a staffing pipeline that creates jobs and a support network for reformed gang members, with the ultimate goal of breaking the cycle of incarceration and recidivism that plagues the communities of Los Angeles. 


The evening’s event will include:

Gallery exhibition walkthrough with photographer Merrick Morton.

Special screening of the short film “Life of a Cholo” directed by David Charles Rodriguez.

Live performance of spoken word and poetry by Richard Cabral.

Q&A Featuring

David Charles Rodriguez - Director, writer and filmmaker.

Richard Cabral - Emmy nominated actor, producer, and writer.

Franky Carrillo - A community leader, justice advocate, who was exonerated after being wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He is currently Commissioner of the LA County Probation Oversight Committee.

Charles “Bear” Spratley - Former Crip gang member and now Executive Director of B.A.B.Y (Brothers Against Banging Youth) it’s mission it is to prevent young people in South Los Angeles from entering gangs and to reduce the impact of gang activity on our communities.

Fabian Debora - Director of Homeboy Art Academy

JC Gable - Publisher Hat & Beard Press

MERRICK MORTON | IG @merrickmortonphoto |

Eastern Projects Gallery | IG@eastern_projects_gallery|


Gary Wong
Homeland Security: Boxes and Skins 

On View January 27, 2024 - March 9, 2024

Saturday March 2, 2024 | 4-6pm 

A Dialogue with Gary Wong and Sam Sweet with QnA.

Gary Wong has always maintained that the images he creates are not political statements but merely reflective of a life of social, cultural, and artistic observation. They are also the result of solving the problem intrinsic in the materials of Abstract Expressionism. To Wong, a student of artists Emerson Woelffer and Matsumi Kanemitsu, it is the problem and the answer at the same time. You have to work it out - squeeze it out of the brush.

That being said, this body of work is both metaphorical in terms of the artist’s struggle, as an outsider, an Asian American, and an iconoclast, as well as directly referencing this country’s changing of borders actual, virtual, and imagined/re-imagined. Most particularly, the impact of these changing borders on America’s indigenous tribes and the intersection of Manifest Destiny, the California Gold Rush, and the surge in immigration in the 19th Century. Mr. Wong considers the great American Indian Chiefs and their tactical efforts to preserve their boundaries and way of life to be the original Homeland Security. The stories are personal to him, as this is where his traceable family line begins - in California, 1849.  

Wong’s legendary great grandfather, Wong Bow, was twelve years old when he sailed unaccompanied on a boat from China to California’s Golden Gate: San Francisco. His adventure included being taken under the wing of the ship’s captain (probably put to work); laboring with his uncle and cousin on some of the many big ditches, flumes, and canals of the Gold Rush era (which negatively impacted thousands of Indigenous Americans); surviving a virus that swept through the Chinese encampment and killed his uncle and cousin; and enduring another ‘adoption’ by yet another white man who owned a bottle factory in Eureka.

The particulars of much of his story lost to time, we know that Wong Bow became a rugged individualist and made a decision not to live in the city. He instead chose mountain life in Happy Camp, a small settlement in the Klamath National Forest. As Chinese were not allowed to live among white men in the towns, Wong Bow was welcomed by the local Indigenous Americans, the Kuruk. He learned their traditions, and had a family with a Kuruk woman. Now dubbed “China Bow,” he mined silver and jade, and created a pack train business, driving provisions over the mountains in all seasons between Happy Camp and Crescent City. At some point, China Bow sent for a mail-order Chinese bride, and Gary Wong’s grandfather was born in Happy Camp. 

China Bow’s immigration story and that of the family he started here is very American. It may well be both contrasting and mirroring of the stories of Native American Tribes, but it is what first brings Indigenous Americans to Mr. Wong’s consciousness. And as the Kuruk were the only California tribe to grow tobacco, it is both ironic and a tribute that Wong has created this body of work, HOMELAND SECURITY, on the cedar linings - or divider skins, of the wooden cigar boxes he has been collecting for years.



Contemporary Storytelling in the Asian Tradition.
Join us this Sunday February 25, 6-8pm

Dragon Stories in collaboration with City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Performing Arts Division will be hosting Gary Wong among other Asian-American Poets. 


Saturday Feb 24-25, 2024 Festivities start at 7am

More information at

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