Julian Raven, Artist
714 Baldwin St., Elmira, New York, 14901
November 15th, 2016
Executive Director, Kim Sajet
The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
CC: Chief Curator, Brandon Brame Fortune
8th St NW & F St NW,
Washington, DC 20001
CC: Kristin A. Swain, Executive Director Of The Rockwell Museum Of Art
CC: Brian Lee Whisenhunt, Incoming Executive Director OF The Rockwell Museum Of Art
CC: Patty Campbell, Smithsonian Liaison at the Rockwell Museum Of Art
111 Cedar St, Corning, NY 14830
Application To Show The Trump Portrait/Painting, ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’ By Artist Julian Raven at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery For The Inauguration of President Elect Donald J. Trump on January 20th, 2017.
The Presidential Portrait/Painting has an incredible backstory of inspiration and creation, complex narrative told through layered symbolism and a historic grassroots campaign journey in support of President Elect Donald J. Trump. The painting is predictive in that it depicted Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America, it was created in the summer of 2015.
My name is Julian Raven; www.julianraven.com, I am a professional artist residing in Elmira, New York. With the historic election of Mr. Donald J. Trump, soon to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America, it is only fitting that at his inauguration, American art history and the art world be included.
As the artist who painted the prophetic, symbolic, patriotic and historic Trump portrait painting ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’ I respectfully submit my request, to have my work on show at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery for the presidential inauguration on January the 20th, 2017.
The unique and compelling story of the massive, nearly 8x16 foot work of art in its final finished framed dimensions, must be told since it is the only painting to have been created at the beginning of the campaign back in the summer of 2015 by the grassroots and to have predicted the Trump Presidency and then to have been part of a historic grassroots political campaign. As an artist, I was inspired to create this portrait never having met Donald Trump. Alone and in my 6000 sq. ft. art studio in Elmira, New York, I spent nearly 600 hours wrestling with this monumental task.
Never have I had such a powerful experience of inspiration and the subsequent burning and consuming desire to embark on such a project. It is the thing of artist’s dreams to have the level of spiritual intensity rest upon me as it did.
“The mission of the National Portrait Gallery is to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation’s history, development and culture.” In harmony with this mission statement, there is no other individual on earth right now with the prominence, fame and historic impact like President Elect Trump and there is no other painting on earth that corresponds with this most significant time in human history!
In 2009, the National Portrait Gallery established an important presidential campaign art precedent. With the showing of the Obama graphic ‘Hope And Change’ commissioned by Yosi Sergant and created by artist Shepherd Fairey on January the 17th, 2009, the relevant and pertinent historic work of art celebrated in parallel the inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama on January the 20th, 2009.
Now on the heels of another historic and totally unique Presidential election, President Elect Donald J. Trump’s totally unprecedented election has its own historic work of art to celebrate his inauguration.
The Trump Painting & Portrait ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’ story written on August 26th, 2016
“It began on July 9th, 2015. As I was looking intently at a photo of Donald Trump and listening to him speak, I hear the words 'Unafraid And Unashamed' ticker tape through my mind as the image of a Bald Eagle swooped down to snatch a falling American flag and flag pole. I began to find images of eagles online snatching fish out of the water to see if I could find the right posture and attitude I could see in the vision. At the time I was busy working on other projects in my studio. I went about my way, but the image did not leave my mind, it was seared onto the screen of my mind. It began to grow within, increasing in pressure as time passed, 'paint the Trump painting, Trump painting, Trump painting...' it was as if the image was saying to me, ‘get on with it’….the pressure continued to increase!
On August 20th, I finally sat down at my computer to work on the image of the Trump Painting. I worked on creating an eagle from the images I found in July that was both snatching and screaming. My 13 year old daughter Victoria, came into my office and asked me what I was doing working on an eagle, since I had told no one what I was thinking. Also it was a departure from my recent abstract expressionist work! Victoria thought I was going to build a sculpture of the eagle, since at that time, I was working in steel. I told Victoria that I was working on a painting in my mind, without telling any details. Victoria left the room and then did an about face and said out of the blue, 'Dad, why don't you paint a painting of the Eagle and give it to Donald Trump so WHEN he becomes President he can hang it in the White House.' I was stunned by the utterance, out of the mouth of babes the spirit now spoke to me. I sat there staring at her innocent and beautiful face, I was amazed, speechless and in awe! She shrugged her shoulders and left the room! Victoria had no idea I was planning to paint a painting about Donald Trump, which included a Bald Eagle; somehow she connected the dots and spoke!
The very next morning, August the 21st, I went to CNN online to see what Mr. Trump was saying that day. There was a video segment about a Time Magazine photo shoot at Trump Tower. I pressed play, as it was about a 'visitor' Trump had that morning at Trump Tower.
Who was this visitor I wondered? Suddenly, as the video rolled, there on the screen, in front of me was a photo of Donald Trump standing in his office, that very morning with a Bald Eagle perched on his arm! I was stunned! I stared at the screen in disbelief. The lighting in the photo was very strong and it looked superimposed. I actually thought it was a hoax, a fake, a Photoshop of Donald Trump with a bald eagle. That somehow, someone knew what I was thinking about The Trump Painting and was fooling with me....I continued to stare at the screen in disbelief! I felt like a car had hit me, the jolt was so powerful, it really messed with my perception; I could not believe my eyes! WOW! WOW! WOW! I was dumbfounded by this staggering series of events!
Think about it for a moment, for nearly six weeks I had been thinking daily about an image of Donald Trump's face staring out at me, a Bald Eagle rescuing symbolically the falling American flag, as I daily tried to compose the Trump Painting on the screen of my mind. This could have just been a good idea I had, painting a painting of Trump could be a smart move as an artist, it could be a 'big deal' for my career...But I was very busy working on other projects, steel sculpture in particular which was very exciting, more so than what was going on inside my head. But the image of the Trump Painting replayed itself daily in my mind.
The internal pressure had eventually increased to the point where I had to sit down and start actually working on the elements in the Trump painting in the physical sense. So finally I am at my computer working on the Eagle, creating a snatching & screaming Eagle. This is the first day that I sat down to work on developing image, the only day since July 9th. Then out of nowhere my daughter Victoria engages me about the Eagle and then says what she said out of left field that very night. I knew then I had to paint the painting. And then, the very next morning, I see the photo of Donald Trump in his office with the Bald Eagle perched on his arm, then the video of the Bald Eagle sitting on his desk. Amazing! I nearly fell off my chair!
There were 21 candidates running at that time on both sides, Republican and Democrat. Why was it that only Trump decided to take a picture with a Bald Eagle that morning? None of the other candidates took pictures with a Bald Eagle, as if this was some ritual that presidential candidates do when running for office. Even for Trump it was unusual. How many photos exist of Trump with an Eagle perched on his arm? Just one! If Trump was a collector of Eagles it would not be that odd, but on that day, August 21st, 2015 Donald Trump alone does a photo shoot with the Bald Eagle.
People I think interpret unusual series of events as we seek to discover God's guidance, in our efforts into tap into and understand the plan for our lives and for our tomorrows, at least that is what I do. There are ideas, visions, plans etc. we can have within ourselves, that when they are confirmed on different levels from the outside without anyone knowing what is going on inside, it indicates to me an intervention from a Source greater than self since it is now out of our control. Could this all have been coincidence or is the Hand of Destiny really in control, was this a spiritual revelation indicating Trump would become the 45th President of the United States? Remember this was last year, 2015 when Trump was up against 16 other republican candidates!
What does this all mean? What was Trump trying to say? Does this series of 'events' tell a story that is speaking of future events? Remember at that time Donald Trump was not being taken seriously. At that time and until this day Trump's candidacy has been mocked, ridiculed and 'expertly' explained as continually imploding by all manner of political professionals, commentators, experts in the media, talking heads on TV and radio pundits!
Trump has defied political gravity; Trump won the Republican nomination and defeated 16 other professional and formidable political opponents and this he did as an outsider, businessman and political novice never having been elected! Trump's candidacy has been nothing but meteoric, historic and prophetic. This story of the inspiration and creation of the Trump painting 'Unafraid And Unashamed' speaks to that very fact and is a physical 'sign' that captures this historic presidential race like nothing else by painting a picture of the future.
On this date August the 26th, 2016 the Trump painting which was completed last year in September 2015 so far has painted a remarkable picture of what we are seeing taking place right now. The contents of the painting, the symbols contained all point to Donald Trump as the next President of the United States of America! We will know on November the 8th, 2016.
Please enjoy the rest of the story about the creation of the Trump Painting and how the inspiration of this painting opened up a door to a grassroots political campaign that has taken the artist, New Born citizen and Alternate New York Delegate Julian Raven from coast to coast.”
Painting The Portrait
Abstract expressionism has been one of my techniques in my personal search for the creative language that best expresses and captures the intensity and passion of my heart. The excitement, energy and joy the ‘Drip & Splash’ technique creates within me is exhilarating. But it is limited in its ability to convey detailed information.
When considering how I was going to paint the Trump Portrait I considered my advanced ‘Drip & Splash’ technique. I had painted back in 2014 a 7-foot portrait of Alan Henning, the British cab driver murdered by ISIS in Syria, called ‘The Power Of Kindness’. This laid the groundwork for the Trump Portrait and I was close to painting the massive painting with drips of paint, but the details in my mind seemed to require grater clarity. The Henning portrait was extremely challenging, and very hard to control. So I rightly decided to pick up my brushes again and discover the challenges of using tiny brushes when one is used to throwing gallons of paint around! Ha-ha, it was like asking someone to paddle their canoe in a pond after white water rapids were their ‘thing’!
I did not plan the painting other than I knew that the head would be full size, for me that was nearly 7 feet tall. I did not want the body since it was the face I saw in the photo, it was the expression of determination, and the stare of Trump saying I am going to get it done! I am tough, determined and ready to rescue America! The eagle had to be at least 8 feet; it ended up being 9 feet long approximately.
It was a great challenge for me since I did not know exactly what I was going to paint, I trusted the spirit of inspiration to guide me and it did. I literally followed the impulses in my heart. I had waited to so long to start the painting that when that series of events came, I hade only begun to work on the eagle, creating a snatching screaming bird, there was nothing else. So the morning of the CNN video, I left my home and built the stretcher in my studio and began painting and did not stop until it was done. I could not stop myself. I worked the painting out on the canvas. That is probably why it took me so long because I redid portions of it over and over and over and over again! If x-rayed, the painting would look like a sketchbook!
For nearly 6 weeks I was a different man. I could not interact with my family normally nor attend to household responsibilities. Thank God I have a patient and wonderful wife and family! I hardly slept, which caused me to drink unusual amounts of coffee to keep me awake. It was a totally consuming work. I did not see friends, or tell friends what I was doing, not even my mother knew what I was doing! Night and day I worked. It was brutally hot some days. Then, as the painting’s end was in sight, it was autumn and quite chilly. It was an experience that has changed my life forever!
I tried to create a beautiful composition of fantastic lines. Carefully, I created interesting negative spaces and I was very careful not to pack the composition and lose its feeling of space. I wanted the painting’s style to be interesting to children; one that everyone could enjoy - the artistically informed as well as the average person. This was one of the reasons I did not use the drip technique. My children and my wife were the only people who knew what I was doing for the two months that I ‘fell off the radar’. They were both my sounding board and my encouragement. The painting had to be a bold reflection of Trump in its scale, intensity, drama, energy and bold coloring. It developed into this cosmic global vision as seen from above. Donald Trump’s impact globally already speaks to the earth being used symbolically.
It is dreamlike, even surreal as it speaks of the dream/vision of the fall and rescue of America under President Trump, but it also is a dream since it is set at the waking hour, the time of dreams, as the sun rises in the east. Even though painting is layered in Theistic symbolism, since I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and since I was inspired, I made sure it did not read as a religious painting. That type of imagery can distract and ‘pigeon hole’ the work into a sub category that then limits the amount of people who will enjoy it.
Most of the elements in the painting are telling a story. Even Trump’s hair is a meteoric symbol that actually is not sitting on his head. This speaks to the ‘meteoric’ rise of Trump and his hair being such a feature of his personality. I even deliberately made the roots visible, since at the time there was so much debate as to whether his hair was real; the painting shows it being real! The long stretched flag developed from a simple falling flag to a fluttering, reversed, faded, frayed, torn flag (symbols in the tears.) on the right to a restored and new flag on the left under the wings of the Eagle. The flag is a time continuum or timeline. From its founding where the flag attached to the flag pole ropes that are cut off from the flag pole, the ropes which are symbols to the new stripes, stars and ink being pulled down from above and out and through Trump. The pensive, intense and determined look on Trumps face, and yet the Bald Eagle is screaming, sounding the alarm as if that is the cry of the eagle, the sprit of the land coming through Donald Trump. ‘Make America Great Again’ is a tough phrase to visualize in a simple image. I have made the falling fading flag that is rescued speak to that saying. It is the image of making America Great Again as the flag is restored. Mysteriously, the portrait with all of its intensity, smiles, revealing the ‘big hearted’ man behind the steely eyed stare. This is seen in the original more than in the reproductions.
There is much more to the story and the interpretation of the symbolism, which I hope to share with you if you decide to honor my request to show the painting for the inauguration.
The painting is in acrylics on stretched canvas. It is beautifully framed in a red, white and blue ornate decorative frame. The final dimensions are nearly 8x16 feet. It weighs about 250 lbs. It is ready to hang with French cleats and it has its own custom crate.
The reactions of people who have seen the actual painting have been a pleasure to watch and hear as an artist. Many people have seen the image of the painting and speak positively of it. But it is the experience of the scale of the portrait that evokes massive emotional responses. Some people virtually yell out loud, using expletives when they see it! The ‘OOs’ and ‘Ahhs’ are great when the painting is unveiled. The two most dramatic reactions were as follows. One man paced up and down in front of the painting rubbing his arms, as he exclaimed out loud how he had goose bumps all over his body. One woman, upon seeing the painting stood there silently. It was an awkward silence and a first since most people react out loud. This one woman stood there, stared silently and left. The artist thought she didn’t like the painting. Later she emailed the artist to apologize and explain how the painting left her speechless. She could not speak….That was a powerful reaction!
From the snowy wilderness of the Iowa Caucuses to the pinnacle of political art shows in LA at Politicon 2016, The Trump Painting has been seen and enjoyed by thousands of people. The Trump Painting 'Unafraid And Unashamed' was seen at the 'Art Of Politics' Art Show along with the 'Hope And Change' painting, by artist Shepherd Fairey to provocative conservative street artist SABO. Here is the invitation from Yosi Sergant, inspiration and publicist of the Obama painting ‘Hope And Change’ by Shepherd Fairey.
“Dear Julian, My name is Yosi Sergant. I am the former White House Arts Liaison and Dir. of Communications at the National Endowment for the Arts. I would love to invite you to participate in a group show I am producing at this years Politicon taking place in Pasadena, CA from June 24-26th (politicon.com). We expect about 5,000 attendees and the speakers/panelists include the likes of Sarah Palin, Anne Coulter, Glen Beck, James Carville, David Axelrod and the cast of the Daily Show… and many more. The show includes artists such as Shepard Fairey, Robbie Conal, Michael D’Antuono, T-Rock Moore, SABO, The Art Wing Conspiracy, Mear One, Illma Gore and a few others. It will be fantastic. We’d love to include Unafraid and Unashamed in the show. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind Regards, Yosi"
The Trump Painting even traveled to Trump Tower in New York City where a copy proudly hangs in the Trump Campaign Headquarters since November 1st, 2015.
Having been elected as an Alternate Delegate from New York, as a newborn American citizen, Julian Raven attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, 2016. As part of the New York delegation a copy of the Trump Painting was on display at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel. It served as the backdrop for countless photos with many of the distinguished guests at the New York Delegation. Present at the New York delegation were former Speaker New Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Congressman Collins, Congressman Reed, GOP Chairman Ed Cox, Chemung County Chair Rodney Strange, Yates County Chairwoman Sandy King, Schuyler County Chair Lester Cady and many more. Julian Raven also boldly and proudly displayed a copy of The Trump Painting in the Public Square in the center of the anti Trump protests at the convention. The painting powerfully transcended the heated opposition to Trump, creating positive dialogue with Bernie Sander’s supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters who showed great respect for the painting even though they opposed Trump. It was common to hear, “I hate Trump, but I love the painting…” This was mission accomplished for the arts, as the painting was a tool for generating positive interaction. Even at the artist’s studio where at 25 foot vinyl version of the painting hangs it has been a tool for positive conversation. From a multitude of initial threats, the hostility was diffused and minds were changed concerning Trump. 6 months later the banner still hangs in a Democrat neighborhood proving the power of art to be an instrument of creative dialogue.
Yosi Sergant, inspiration, patron and publicist of the Shepherd Fairey presidential poster even said about the Trump Painting And Portrait, that is was ‘visionary, positive and a hope filled work of art, even though being a self proclaimed ‘hard core leftist’ and not a fan of Donald Trump.
The image of the Trump painting was also featured in the viral video (5 million Views) ‘The Trump Family I know’ produced by Trump Executive, Lynne Patton. It was also shown on screen during the Cleveland RNC convention. Julian Raven received acknowledgement and praise from politicians, the media and friends who saw the image at the RNC or on their television screens across the county, for that great achievement! The image of the Trump portrait/painting was to become the only work of art included in the RNC convention. By this inclusion at the RNC, the image of the painting became a part of American political history, another step in this remarkable ‘art history’ story.
Please see video: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4612500/trump-family-know-video (Also see the massive media coverage at www.thetrumppainting.com
Following the RNC in Cleveland, the Trump painting has been a continual fixture in Grassroots rallies in Elmira, New York. It also was part of RNC annual dinners, with high-ranking New York Republican sitting politicians being present; New York Senator Tom O’Mara, Chemung County Chairman Rodney Strange, Elmira Mayor Daniel Mandell, , Schuyler County Chairman Lester Cady, Yates County Chairwoman Sandy King, Assemblyman Friend, Assemblyman Palmesano and many other distinguished members of the Republican Party. Julian Raven would speak and explain some of the symbolism in the painting and receive standing ovations as a result!
Now the next stage of this historic journey is upon us. The prophecy is fulfilled, Donald J. Trump will become the next President of the United States on January the 20th, 2017. Will the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery be part of this story? That decision rests upon you.
Attached are some of the official letters from elected representatives and important individuals who represent over 200,000 New York citizens and have spoken on their behalf by supporting the effort to have the Trump portrait and painting on show as a tribute and for the inauguration of the next President of the United States.
Obviously this work of art is a massive Trump supporter magnet. It will guarantee some of President Elect Trump’s 60 million supporters will have a place to visit to see the historic work of art!
Sincerely appreciative of your time,
MEDIA: Some of the many stories. Please visit the Trump Painting website to see all of the images and media stories.
Powerful Signs in the making of the ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’
The Making of The Trump Painting/Portrait ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’
November 1st, 2015 the beginning of the fine art grassroots campaign for Donald trump by Artist Julian Raven
Unwavering support, Mayor Mandell Recommendation
Beyond Rage And Anger To America, Vision Of Hope
Washington Free Beacon- Culture- Loyal Supporters.
New York Times: Art Section:
The only Pro-Trump painting to be included in the anti-Trump Huffington Post’s Art gallery ‘If This Art Could Vote’: http://ifthisartcouldvote.huffingtonpost.com/
Please see more at:
CC: Senator O’Mara, New York
CC: Congressmen Reed and Collins, New York
CC: Mayor Mandell, Elmira, New York
CC: Assemblymen Friend and Palmesano, New York
CC: Chairmen/Chairwomen Cox, Strange, Cady, King and Sempolinski, New York
CC: Chemung County Legislators, Kenneth J. Miller and Joe Brennan
CC: Frank Acomb, Frankly Speaking Radio
CC: Brad Davis & Andrea Gates, Art Collectors
CC: Lynne Patton, Trump Org.
Letters of recommendation attached. Some are still in production and will be forwarded when they arrive or I am still waiting on the original signed version.
The Trump Painting/Portrait ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’ by Julian Raven
Elected representatives from over 200,000 New York citizens have joined in the support of this application. This historic moment in American history is one that for sure will be celebrated as we live it now, and remembered with great joy as we look back on this remarkable journey of one man, President Elect Donald J. Trump.
It is nothing but humbling and awe inspiring to have been inspired in such a historic moment and to have heeded the impulses of that inspiration. To have documented the moment and painted an image of future events will always be sobering. We live in momentous times as a human race, world events have been ebbing and flowing at a seemingly breathless pace creating great uncertainty, but a new era has dawned, 'The Age Of Trump.'
So as we prepare for the President Elect's inauguration, it will be nothing but an insurmountable honor to celebrate this historic moment by paying tribute to President Elect Donald J. Trump but adding this great art story to the pages of the Art History, and in our case the History of American Art.
Please consider writing your letter of support for this endeavor and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org
More letters will be added as they arrive during this application process.
Please scroll down to read the Application and The Letters of Recommendation below the application.
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW
Application To The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery To Show The Trump Painting And Trump Portrait 'Unafraid And Unashamed' By Artist Julian Raven.
I'd like to see "Unafraid and Unashamed" by Julian Raven displayed by the Smithsonian during President Trump's inauguration. The piece brilliantly portrays Trump's appeal to the "forgotten man", and is worthy of critical acclaim for its beautiful and artistic symbolism.
Chemung County Legislator
4th District - Big Flats, Horseheads
Please sign and send your support below.
Letters of Reference regarding the submission of the Trump Painting and Trump Portrait to be hung at the Smithsonian for the inauguration of President Elect Donald J. Trump.
Caption taken from the National Portrait Gallery Blog.
The Trump Painting By Artist Julian Raven from New York. The Trump Painting was on display at the 2016 RNC in Cleveland New York. The Trump Portrait was seen at the New York Delegation's hotel in the center of Cleveland. The Trump painting was also part of a 5 second video show at the RNC convention. The video by Trump Executive Lynne Patton featured the image of the Trump Painting on the side of the Trump Truck.
The Trump Painting and The Trump Presidential Portrait webpage. The Trump Painting has been on a prophetic journey since its creation back in the summer of 2015. Trump Painting, Trump Portrait and Trump Presidential Painting. Historic painting by artist Julian Raven, the Trump Painting has been seen across the country. The Trump Painting portrays Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America. You may ask where is The Trump Painting located? The Trump Portrait is presently on show at the artist's studio in Elmira, New York. A copy of The Trump Painting hangs proudly in the new Trump Campaign headquarters located in Trump Tower in New York City.