Category Archives: Alfred Eaker Paintings – Murals

WAY DOWN

July 6,  1977 Elvis Presley’s single “Way Down” is released.

*Cover Photo from “Elvis: An American Seeker” (Mural in progress) ©2020 Alfred Eaker

Related: Discover “Brother Cobweb”, a novel by Alfred Eaker

About Alfred Eaker:

Alfred Eaker

Alfred Eaker is a prolific fine arts painter and muralist, an award-winning filmmaker and film critic, and a traditionally-published author. Following on the success of his debut novel, “Brother Cobweb,” Eaker is currently collaborating with Todd M. Coe on the related Graphic novel: “The Brother Cobweb Chronicles.It will be available in the spring 2021. The audiobook version of Brother Cobweb is also being produced, and will soon be released too.

As an inquisitive American artist, he has always been deeply engaged in social, religious, and political climates. Eaker is currently working on a mural painting entitled “Elvis: An American Hymn.” Through it, Eaker is trying to bring affirming answers to issues of race, integration and hope so desperately needed at this moment in America.

Follow Alfred Eaker Online:

In The Ghetto

July 5, 1969 – Elvis Presley’s “In The Ghetto” hits #2 in the U.K.

It’s interesting in that originally I found this song thick in laying on the sentimentality and a bit schmaltzy. It doesn’t seem so at all today, Indeed, with everything surrounding us, it seems more relevant than ever.

Then, as I read this in a FB group today, I discovered a bit of background about it. Presley and his producer were set to record it when Presley’s manager, Tom Parker, voiced an objection, citing that it was “too political and too controversial.” Presley overshot his manager’s objections with a memo, “did you grow up poor? We’re recording this song.”

Since his death, there’s been a tendency to label Presley a racist, he stole black music, etc. These comments are always made by people who never met him and yet it’s easy to see why that is assumed; after all he was southern, politically conservative, and a redneck (he was). It only goes to stand… only it doesn’t.

Presley was raised in a black Pentecostal church. It was the music he knew. He grew up dirt poor in a racially mixed neighborhood.  No one who knew him, either well or casually, makes claims of his being a racist; quite the reverse, indeed they vehemently deny it,  and peers such as Chuck Berry, James Brown, and B.B. King frequently tried to set the record straight and quash the myth of his being bigoted.

It matters, even today, so many years after Presley’s decline and self-willed death because, even if unintentionally,  he serves as a model of sorts;  one can be southern, politically conservative, and even a good old boy, without mantling systematic racism or traditions of white supremacy.  The late Little Richard called Presley an integrator. “In the Ghetto” is perhaps the Presley song that best manifests Richard’s claim and advocates the long past due need for cultural and spiritual integration.

Look inside Alfred Eaker’s debut Novel:

About Alfred Eaker:

Alfred Eaker

Alfred Eaker is a prolific fine arts painter and muralist, an award-winning filmmaker and film critic, and a traditionally-published author. Following on the success of his debut novel, “Brother Cobweb,” Eaker is currently collaborating with Todd M. Coe on the related Graphic novel: “The Brother Cobweb Chronicles.It will be available in the spring 2021. The audiobook version of Brother Cobweb is also being produced, and will soon be released too.

As an inquisitive American artist, he has always been deeply engaged in social, religious, and political climates. Eaker is currently working on a mural painting entitled “Elvis: An American Hymn.” Through it, Eaker is trying to bring affirming answers to issues of race, integration and hope so desperately needed at this moment in America.

Follow Alfred Eaker Online:

OF MYSTICISM AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (Mural)

MYSTICAL REVOLUTION

Mystical Revoltion © 2020, Alfred Eaker

“The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all. The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim Him with their mouths and deny Him with their actions is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.”  Karl Rahner

Of Mysticism and Social Justice: Beatitudes Born of Magnificat

Beatitudes Born of Magnificat ©Alfred Eaker 2018

“We have to make ourselves heard. Christians have a grave responsibility to protest clearly and forcibly against trends that lead inevitably to crimes which the Church deplores and condemns. Ambiguity, hesitation and compromise are no longer permissible. War must be abolished. A world government must be established. We have still time to do something about it, but the time is rapidly running out.”

Thomas Merton, Peace in the Post-Christian Era

Of Mysticism and Social Justice: Christ Casting Avarice From The Temple

Christ Casting Avarice From The Temple ©Alfred Eaker 2018

“I came into the world.  Free by nature, in the image of God. I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born.  That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers.”

Thomas Merton, excerpt from Seven Storey Mountain (read by Pope Francis in his address to congress)

Of Mysticism And Social Justice: Feeding Of The 5000

Feeding Of The 5000 © Alfred Eaker 2018

“Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny … To put it better, we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity … The seeds that are planted in my liberty at every moment, by God’s will, are the seeds of my own identity, my own reality, my own happiness, my own sanctity.”

Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

PIERRE BOULEZ MURAL

Pierre Boulez Mural ©️2018, Alfred Eaker. (Stained Glass Boulez in the Church of Brother Cobweb @The House of Shadows in Gresham, Oregon).

These are 15 -8ft x 4ft paintings on wood panels. Being raised in an extremely conservative Pentecostal environment, I was paradoxically also pursuing artistic endeavors and exposed to the music of Wagner early on. Taking my drawing pad to church, I rebelled by creating a fictional preacher named Brother Cobweb (the novel about the character is being published next year).

Years later, in 1980, PBS announced the airing of the Pierre Boulez/ Patrice Chereau Ring Cycle. Researching Boulez, two quotes resonated: “Whenever there is extreme conservatism, there is an explosion of revolt,” and “ We must by cultural omnivores and raid all the art forms to enhance our own medium.”

Boulez’s Ring was as radical as promised and in the late 80s, I began to see him often in concert; mostly in Chicago and Cleveland. As I did in that church, I took drawing pads and drew Boulez conducting his own music, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Mahler, Bartok, Ravel, Debussy, Varese, and Augusta Read Thomas. I drew quickly, without looking at the paper and over a span of some fifty concerts, produced thousands of rough sketches, some of which I did paintings from.

When I moved to Portland and was hired as a muralist for the House of Shadows, I was given my own Church of Brother Cobweb where I perform the character. This year, I created for the Church this Boulez mural for its “stained glass windows.” Most of the paintings are taken from Boulez conducting in Chicago; others in Cleveland. That they are on wood, for me, echoes the diaphanous spikiness found in some of the music. This is my idiosyncratic scoring to a twilight of the tiny god: Brother Cobweb. Alfred Eaker.

“BROTHER COBWEB’S LAST SUPPER ” AND “BROTHER COBWEB’S TENT REVIVAL,” house paint on wood panels ©2017 Alfred Eaker

With my lifelong painting of idiosyncratic (or heterodox if one prefers) iconography, I suppose it was inevitable that I paint a last supper. This mural, titled “Brother Cobweb’s Last Supper” will be used for”The Church Of Brother Cobweb” haunt at the Gresham, Oregon HOUSE OF SHADOWS for the West Coast Haunter’s Convention this May and its October haunt.

The second mural, “Brother Cobweb’s Tent Revival” will be used as the entrance door into The Church Of Brother Cobweb.

Although, I drew numerous last suppers as a child (including several with a 600 pound Jesus), this is my first painting of the subject. Of course, it’s composed in my second language of blasphemy, which I speak fluently.

Brother Cobweb’s last supper:

“Brother Cobweb’s Last Supper,” 8ft x 16 ft, house paint on wood panels (featuring the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Kim Davis, America’s Best Christian Betty Bowers as Magdalene, Jimmy Swaggart, Anita Bryant,Jerry Falwell, Jan & Phil Crouch, Benny Hinn, Rev. Jim Jones, Brother Cobweb, Ernest Angley, The Duggars, Phil Robertson, Ted Cruz, Pat Robertson, Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Jerry Falwell Jr wearing a Jesus/Trump shirt, Mike Huckabee, the junior Duggars, Matthew Myer Boulton, and Sister Sandpaper) ©2017 Alfred Eaker

Brother Cobweb’s last supper close-ups:

Brother Cobweb Tent’s revival:

“Brother Cobweb’s Tent Revival,”  8ft x 4 ft, house paint on wood panel ©2017 Alfred Eaker

MODERN SPIRITUALITY

From 1999 to 2000, I painted a mural, in oils, for St. Vincent De Paul client food choice pantry in Indianapolis, having been commissioned by Carolyn Reifel, who was the director of that facility. It took nearly a year. The mural was a donation btw, and we followed that with an art auction. Numerous local and national artists donated their work(s) to the auction in an effort to raise funds for the pantry.  The mural spanned several walls, on  dry wall. I began the mural with images of two priests who were and are still considerable influences in my life; Fr. Justin Belitz O.F.M and Fr. Hilary Ottensmeyer O.S.B.

Fr. Hilary, who had introduced me to Fr. Justin, passed away a mere two weeks after completion of the mural in 2000. I was blessed by his being able to see the completed mural before he passed this temporary coil.

The above are some images and a Nuvo article I came across. One note about the article: It seems to indicate that the auction was not well attended. While we did not have the turn out we had hoped for, over the course of the evening it was indeed fairly well attended and we raised enough money to feed one hundred families for a year.

Tapping back into my thinking from twelve years ago, I entitled the mural “Modern Spirituality” from the mindset of a post Vatican II Catholicism and an ecumenical, inter-faith spirit.

Fr. Justin Belitz and Fr. Hilary Ottensemeyer are representative of that post Vatican II Spirituality. Their images graced several walls of the mural, as did images of Mother Teresa, Pope John XXIII, Our Lady, Gauatama Buddha, and scenes from a charismatic, protestant church service.

Now, twelve years later, I am attaining my Masters of Theological Studies at Christian Theological Seminary.