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.


Fr. Justin Belitz and Fr. Hilary Ottensmeyer

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.