A letter to the President

February 8, 2009

I thought I would share with you a letter I sent to the President about stimulating our economy.

Mr. President Obama you have affected me with your words and on the day you became president you affected me with your image. You have brought me income and united me with my peers to bring imagination to my culture. Your positivity and good nature shines above the news and politics. I couldn’t imagine having the responsibility you have taken on, but am deeply grateful a man of your character wanted the job. Hang in there. I can feel the change coming, stay the course. I can’t stop painting now.

I am writing you with my story because I have never been so directly affected by a politician as I have been with you. With the economy taking its toll on my nascent business, and dream, it has been invigorating to know that the man that is the leader of my country has affected my well being. Not once, but twice; and I am sure you will again.

I am an artist. I have had my business for a mere 4 years now. It’s working, I am living my dream. The economic downturn has affected my sales at a time when things just started to seem good, seemed sustainable. Though this downturn in the economy is tough to comprehend at times you have given me hope and affected my income. The day you were elected President of the United States you gave a collector of mine the confidence to purchase an original painting from me. I thought that was a fantastic turn of events, a sign if you will. Then just this last month your image and what you represent has directly came into my life once again. I was contacted by a musician out of San Francisco who wanted me to do a painting for his new album. He explained to me that he has roots in Kenya, and that his music is highly influenced by Fela Kuti, and that his new album was titled “Black President”. He wanted me to do a painting of President Obama for the cover. I generally don’t do portraits, as a matter of fact the only other one I can remember doing is of Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Yet I felt like I really wanted to take on the challenge, and a job is a job these days. Commission work can be difficult, but this image flowed from my fingertips as if it was meant to be. It all came together right around the time of your inauguration. The synergy was incredible as I painted your image during the day our country made a change for the future with the first Black President.

I never thought I would paint a president, but you have made me proud and honored to have had the chance. I wanted to capture the humanness that attracted me to your persona two years ago while watching a speech of yours on cspan. I hope you like the work I have done and I recommend listening to the title track as I believe “Sila and the Afrofunk Experience” have done justice to your image as well. Thank you for making my world a better place to live in, my country a more positive image, and bringing me some inspirational work.

Here are links to the image, band, and song.

your image

the story

the band

the song

Sincerely

Jarrod Eastman

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