LAMB OF GOD's ART CRUZ Attends Photographer MERRICK MORTON's Solo Exhibition 'Un-Rehearsed'

April 19, 2024

On Saturday, April 13, LAMB OF GOD drummer Art Cruz was lucky enough to meet with legendary street photographer Merrick Morton and get an intimate walk-through of his first solo exhibition, "Un-Rehearsed", at the Eastern Project Gallery in Los Angeles, California. A video recap of that day can be seen below.

Says Art: "If you grew up admiring films like 'Blood In Blood Out' and 'La Bamba', I guarantee you've seen photos taken by Merrick Morton. I've admired his work online for so many years, but meeting the man behind the camera brought so much more appreciation for his body of work. I got to understand what was going on in the mind of this photographer that was capturing these iconic images of people and places and things that I grew up around.

"My people, mi gente, that L.A. cholo culture. I was indirectly affected by this culture through my own family and my own friends, so this is why I actually resonate so much with his work. Not only was I able to experience this, but I was able to bring my mom and my dad to take them on a trip down memory lane.

"Thank you, Merrick, for inviting me and my family to your first-ever solo exhibit, and thank you so much for capturing the history of Cholo culture through an artistic lens."

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, photography and short film with actor/poet Richard Cabral.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Merrick 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 1980s 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.

Cruz joined LAMB OF GOD nearly five years ago as the replacement for the group's founding drummer, Chris Adler.

Art filled in for Chris on several LAMB OF GOD tours before being named Adler's official replacement in July 2019.

Cruz made his live debut with LAMB OF GOD in July 2018 in Gilford, New Hampshire.

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