Tag Archives: Rejection

Letter Of Appeal To The Board Of Regents Of The Smithsonian Institute, National Portrait Gallery Rejection Of Trump Portrait By Julian Raven

13 Dec

Julian Marcus Raven

2524 County Route 60

Elmira, New York 14901

December 7th 2016






Office of the Regents
Smithsonian Institution
1000 Jefferson Drive SW #113
Washington, D.C. 20560


To The Board Of Regents Of The Smithsonian Institution


CC: Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.; CC: Vice President Elect Mike Pence;

CC: Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.; CC: Senator John Boozman;

CC: Senator Patrick J. Leahy; CC: Senator David Perdue; CC: Representative Xavier Becerra; CC: Representative Tom Cole; CC: Representative Sam Johnson; CC: Barbara M. Barrett CC: Steve Case; CC: John Fahey; CC: Shirley Ann Jackson; CC: Robert P. Kogod CC: Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey; CC: Michael M. Lynton; CC: John W. McCarter, Jr.

CC: David M. Rubenstein


Porter N. Wilkinson,

CC: Chief Of Staff To The Regents,

Rachel Parker,
CC: Deputy Chief of Staff to the Regents

CC: Smithsonian Legal Counsel Department

P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012

CC: Director Kim Sajet

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery



Your Eminent Members Of The Board Of Regents Of The Smithsonian Institution,


My name is Julian Raven, artist and painter of the Trump Portrait ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’. It is with the most pressing urgency that I am writing you due to the fast approaching inauguration of President Elect Donald J. Trump on January 20th, 2017. The reason for the urgency is my intention of showing my painting as a historic tribute to Mr. Trump’s unprecedented election campaign at the National Portrait Gallery.


Due to the purpose of the National Portrait Gallery to be a pictorial record of individuals who have “…made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States, and of the artists who created such portraiture and statuary.” [i] It is without question that an artistic, pictorial record must be made at the National Portrait Gallery that embodies, captures and expresses this most remarkable presidential election campaign because of its unquestionable contribution to our remarkable American history!


There will be many portraits painted of President Elect Trump, there are many portraits of Mr. Donald Trump as a private citizen from before the campaign, but there is only one positive pro-Trump portrait/painting of note and recognition. The painting was created by a private citizen of these United States, back in the summer/fall of 2015. It embodies the candidate, vision, passions, desires, hopes, symbols, patriotism, faith and will of the American people by graphically and prophetically depicting Mr. Donald J. Trump as the man who would become the 45th President of the United States in a dramatic composition whose narrative embodies our most cherished and sacred aspirations as Americans.

This historic creative journey began back on July the 9th 2015, when most people considered Mr. Trump’s candidacy to be a joke! The details of the journey are attached as part of the application that I sent to the Director of The National Portrait Gallery, Kim Sajet. Due to the unfortunate response to my application from Director Sajet I have written this appeal at her prompting, since Director Sajet’s final words to me were, ‘Your application will go no further, I am the director and you can appeal it all you want.’


This very surprising and disturbing personal phone call from Director Sajet took place on December the 1st, 2016 at 11:34 A.M. and it lasted for 11 minutes.[ii] Without any cordial, polite, official, formal, educated, substantive or even procedurally accurate written decision or response from the Director of the National Portrait Gallery to my 20 plus page application that was forwarded to her by the Director Of The Affiliations Department Harold Closter, my application was rejected!   The application included official letters of recommendation from New York elected representatives of over 200,000 citizens; Congressman Tom Reed, Senator Tom O’Mara, GOP chairs, Elmira Mayor Mandell, Councilwoman Moss and others including radio host Frank Acomb and Art Collectors Davis/Gates. Director Sajet embarked on an undocumented[iii], unofficial, biased and personally opinionated rejection of my painting.


One would think that the very standards for acceptance of portraits established by Congress in 1963 would be at the forefront of Director Sajet’s objections? It would also seem appropriate that a work of art such as mine be examined in person due to its scale. The director’s first objection was about the painting’s size! My protestations at the arbitrariness of her objection produced an eventual backtracking and apology from the director! Nowhere in the established standards by Congress for acceptance for a painting was scale ever mentioned! But due to the personally biased opinion that was rendered by Director Sajet, scale was her first mistake!


The size, nearly 7×15 foot painting (7” x 8’ x 16’ and nearly 300lbs in weight in its beautiful decorative red, white and blue frame) is part of the Trump narrative in the portrait, which obviously Director Sajet cared little for! As an artist who paints huge paintings in my 6000 square foot studio in upstate New York and who has always enjoyed Donald Trump’s propensity for doing things ‘YUGE!’, our personalities coincided! ‘YUGE’ was to become part of the historic campaign and part of many of Mr. Trump’s comments. He became the master of ‘YUGE’, his lifestyle, his architectural exploits, his plane and ultimately his campaign can be described as ‘YUGE!’. Thus a portrait/painting that appropriately expresses Mr. Trump’s personality would by nature be ‘YUGE’!


Since the experience of seeing the huge (105 sq. ft. surface area.) painting in person cannot in any way be appreciated through highly reduced and compressed digital images of only a few square inches on an iPhone or comparatively small computer screens, an informed, honest and objective decision should be made after seeing the painting in person, one would think? The many, many, incredible personal responses to the painting testify to this reality.   As the artist, I have had the privilege to watch this happen across the country from NY to LA and throughout the 2015-2016 election campaign. I have been moved by the way in which the painting produced so many powerful and positive emotional responses. Even by those who did not like Mr. Trump, obviously not all of them, but I received so many positive compliments even from Bernie Sander’s supporters, Black Lives Matter protesters, democrats and independents. To note the respect the painting has commanded I share this other story. Over the past 7 months a 12×25 foot vinyl copy of the painting has hung on the front of my art studio, which is located in a low income, highly democratic area. And although the banner and I were initially threatened, 7 months later the banner remains intact!


Art has the power to transcend the typical political discourse, producing positive dialogue and understanding. The positive, visionary hope filled image of the portrait inspires people, commands respect and educates since it is layered with symbolic imagery that tell our American story! Our Nation is in need of healing and restoration. My painting is a tool that has accomplished that, in the many conversations I have had and to the degree that it has been seen across this country. The painting’s destiny to continue this work now rests in your hands.


With this appeal, I am requesting that the Board Of Regents issue an immediate ‘stay of judgment’ in the hasty and biased rejection of my application by Director Sajet. I hereby petition that your Eminencies give an honest and thoughtful consideration to the remarkable and historic story that accompanies the painting. That non-biased and artistic opinions be given to the dramatic nature of the manner of inspiration and spiritual depth through which I was inspired to paint the painting. Also the nearly 600 hours of at times agonizing artistic struggle in the execution of the painting be included in the consideration. Consideration must be given to the resulting effect and the life transforming power upon my personal life as an artist, patriot, political activist and newborn citizen of my new home, the United States of America. I request that consideration be given to the totally unique nature of the painting, since it is not a stylistic reproduction of any other portrait or artistic period. It is unique, and I can testify to that, having been to all of the major museums in England, France, Holland, Spain and New York and personally seen a great number of the worlds most acclaimed artworks, as well as having studied the history of art. I request that thoughtful and respectful consideration be given to the letters of support by elected representatives and others who have personally witnessed this story in one degree or another. Also, that the historic journey and the way the image of the painting was woven into the fabric of this historic presidential campaign be weighed in this process.[iv]


Finally, that based upon the standards for acceptance for portraits to be accepted into the National Portrait Gallery and because the Congress of The United States has decreed; “…the standards for accepting portraits varied considerably from other galleries. Even today, in every instance, the historical significance of the subject is judged before the artistic merit of the portrait, or the prominence of the artist.”[v], that this standard be applied to my painting.


Since personal bias can affect one’s judgment, if the predetermined Congressional standards are ignored in these matters of historic artistic determination, we must remember that this process was established for the sole purpose of securing a historical and pictorial archive of our American story for this or any other particular time in our history. And if yourselves or any other individual can find a portrait that better represents, captures and embodies the dramatic election campaign of now President Elect Donald J. Trump then by all means I will accept the determination of the Board Of Regents in that selection. Most Eminent members of the Board Of Regents, you have been entrusted as civil servants with a grave, honorable and patriotic duty to most accurately and truthfully tell our story to our children and to our children’s children!


Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. And please consider this appeal also as an open invitation to my art studio in Elmira, New York to personally experience the Trump Portrait and Painting ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’ to assist in making your final decision


Please be considerate of the fact that January 20th, 2017 is fast approaching and it would be most fitting to pictorially and artistically celebrate and coincide with this historic inauguration of the 45th president Of The United States, President Elect Donald J. Trump, by having my portrait on display in the National Portrait Gallery. The National Portrait Gallery established precedent for this type of tribute and event on January the 17th, 2009 when the grassroots produced Obama ‘Hope’ poster by Yosi Sergant and artist Shepherd Fairey was displayed just in time for then President Elect Barack Obama’s historic election campaign!



Yours sincerely,


Julian Raven


[i] http://siarchives.si.edu/history/national-portrait-gallery



[iii] Personally I would tend to believe that the phone call record exists somewhere in the NSA or some other data and intelligence recording facility!

[iv] http://www.thetrumpportrait.com

[v] http://siarchives.si.edu/history/national-portrait-gallery






















Julian Raven, Artist

714 Baldwin St.

Elmira, NY 14901


December 6th, 2016





“It’s too BIG!” was the director’s first objection! The director followed with another salvo, ‘The Smithsonian requires ALL portraits be painted from life” to the total shock of Julian Raven, artist and painter of the historic Trump Portrait ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’. Raven hit back, “You showed the Obama ‘Hope’ poster which was not created from a live sitting with Barack Obama!” To which Director Sajet seemed to stamp her foot and insist that it had been created from life, she in fact was now lying! (Later Raven was to discover Director Sajet had misquoted the legal requirement for portrait acceptance by deleting the final part of the statute, “Works must be the best likeness possible; original portraits from life, if possible”.) One would expect the director to actually know the ‘questionable’ story behind the Obama poster by Shepherd Fairey. She insisted, until Raven educated her on the facts, those being how former White House Liaison for the Arts, Yosi Sergant, the leftist political activist and ‘brain-child’ behind the poster, had commissioned Fairey to create the poster and how it was a digitized image of a photo taken by an AP photographer. Raven had participated in an art show in LA curated by Sergant in which he had shown his Trump portrait alongside one of the 3 copies of the screen printed version of the ‘Hope’ poster, one of which was shown in the National Portrait Gallery.


By this time Raven was driving the conversation back to the point about her objection to the scale of the painting as being ridiculous, at which Director Sajet began to backtrack and apologize for her nonsensical objection about the scale, to the amazement of the artist! (Remember, the director of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery had called the artist personally to let him know of her objections, and within 5 minutes was apologizing!) She proceeded to rattle off more personal objections to the Trump portrait by now turning to its content.


“It’s too pro Trump!” At this point the artist’s amazement was surreal! “Too pro Trump?”, he shot back, “and the Obama poster was not Pro-Obama?” “Its too political”, she said, alluding to the imagery in the painting, the American flag, the Bald Eagle and the depiction of The USA. Those are patriotic symbols. Now the director was objecting to patriotism! This portrait of President Elect Donald J. Trump, was painted in the summer of 2015. It prophetically, symbolically and patriotically depicted Trump as America’s future President. Now it was too Patriotic for the NATIONAL Portrait Gallery! Amazingly, according to The Smithsonian, Director Kim Sajet is not even an American Citizen!


Feeling ‘dazed and confused’ the artist responded with another rebuttal, “So the Obama ‘Hope’ poster was neither political nor patriotic?” She replied, “It needs to be more neutral!” . Yet, she kept mentioning the ‘George Washington’ portrait in the Smithsonian, that also contradicted her stance! With that, the Director ended her barrage of personal objections and dislikes of the painting. Her final comment, “It’s no good, it’s a bad painting of Trump!”. Director Sajet then told the artist that she was the director, that his application submitted in writing would go no further, get no official written response and that he could appeal her decision all he wanted! If there ever was a portrait of hubris, this was it!


Director Sajet, in hastily rejecting and condemning this historic work of art, has violated the very conditions for acceptance to the National Portrait Gallery established by Congress. The most important point Congress made was this: “Even today, in every instance, the historical significance of the subject is judged before the artistic merit of the portrait, or the prominence of the artist.”

Again, demonstrating her personal bias and ignorance of the very basis for accepting a portrait, Director Kim Sajet did not even bother to consider the historical significance of the Trump Portrait. In addition, this was the only recognized pro-Trump portrait to have been part of President Elect Donald J. Trump’s historic Presidential campaign!


A copy of Raven’s portrait has been hanging in Trump Tower since November 2015. It has been seen across the country in Julian Raven’s grassroots campaign, in which Eric Trump also participated. It was part of the ‘Art Of Politics’ show in LA along with the nation’s top political art and artists. An image of the painting was also part of Trump Exec. Lynne Patton’s viral video ‘The Trump Family I know’, which generated millions of views and shares. This video was shown at the RNC in Cleveland, establishing the Trump Portrait to be the only work of art recognized at the Convention. It was also on display at the New York Delegation headquarters in Cleveland and in the Public Square amidst hordes of protesters. The painting was also featured in the Huffington Post’s, ‘If This Art Could Vote,’ election art gallery. It also served as the backdrop to numerous, videos, rallies, websites, Facebook pages etc. It was featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and in media across the globe. The application to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery is supported by GOP chairpersons, radio host Frank Acomb, art collectors, and elected representatives, such as Congressman Tom Reed, Senator Tom O’Mara and Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell, all who represent over 200,000 upstate New York citizens.


Do you recall Director Sayet’s rejection of a 15,000 person petition to remove the objectionable bust of Margaret Sanger by black pastors, led by Bishop E.W. Jackson, Senators Cruz and Gomer amongst many other elected representatives back in August of 2015? What about the recent snubbing of Chief Justice Clarence Thomas by the Smithsonian African American Museum? Now, with this bizarre, biased and incompetent behavior by Director Kim Sayet regarding the Trump Portrait, the conditions for a perfect storm have been created.


The ‘swamp’ of blatant liberal bias at the Smithsonian must be drained!


Artist Julian Raven became an American Citizen on September 17th 2015. He is a grassroots political Trump campaigner. He was elected within his first year of citizenship to become a New York Alternate Delegate to represent New York at the Cleveland RNC. He is a public speaker, entrepreneur and minister. He is married to Gloria Raven. They have three beautiful children and they live in Elmira, New York.


For the full story go to www.thetrumpportrait.com



Contact: 607-215-8711













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

Curatorial Department
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 8×16 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 unusual and totally unique Presidential election result, President Elect Donald J. Trump’s totally unprecedented election has its own historic work of art to celebrate his inauguration.




‘The Art Of Politics’ Show in LA, ‘Politicon 2016’


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 8×16 feet. It weighs about 250 lbs. It is ready to hang with French cleats and it has its own custom crate.


Grassroots Campaign


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!






Sincerely appreciative of your time,

Julian Raven




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:










The Trump Painting/Portrait ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’ by Julian Raven



















Email To Director Of Affiliates program Harold Closter.



——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Formal Complaint & REJECTED Smithsonian Application through SI
Affiliate, The Rockwell Museum, Trump Painting, Senator O’Mara,
Congressman Reed & Other Letters of Recommendation
From: <info@julianraven.com>
Date: Wed, November 30, 2016 11:20 am
To: closterh@si.edu
Cc: brundagej@si.eduswaink@rockwellmuseum.org,


Dear Mr. Closter, Director Of The Smithsonian Affiliations Department,


My name is Julian Raven, artist and painter of the Trump Portrait and Painting ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’.  I had recently applied to the National Portrait Gallery through the Smithsonian Affiliate, the Rockwell Museum in Corning, New York.  After a chilly reception and an inference that ‘because the painting is political’ by Patty Campbell, the Smithsonian liaison at the Rockwell, they would not be be able to help since they were a ‘non profit’.  I immediately reminded Ms. Campbell that they had recently had Kal Penn speak at the Rockwell Museum. Mr. Penn was an Obama surrogate, a former White House Director Of Public Engagement, a speaker at the DNC and a Bernie Sanders supporter in the past election. He was invited to speak at the Rockwell Museum on October the 28th, 2016 just a week before the November Election!  Mr. Penn spoke on ‘art and politics!’ That excuse obviously did not fly!


Director Swain later informed me by email that they would not be able to assist me in submitting my application because they do not have the resources! Please read the email below.


“Thank you for your interest in The Rockwell Museum.  While your involvement with the arts is appreciated, The Rockwell simply does not have the resources to assist you with your project.


Your materials will be available for pick-up at the Museum reception desk.  Best of luck with your endeavors,” Kristin Swain.


I was simply asking for my application to be submitted, which is basically forwarding an email, like this one, clicking the send button!  I had offered the Rockwell different levels of involvement if they wished(Please read email below) at such a historically significant time, which they could chose to do or not, or just simply forward the application to the right person and department.


Director Swain’s claim to resource poverty as their excuse to not assist me is outrageous!  I spoke will Kal Penn’s talent agency today and they informed me that it would cost at least $60,000.00 to have Mr. Penn come and speak at an event in our area!  The Rockwell Museum has an ‘Executive Liaison’ position as well and Director Swain pleads poverty of resources!


According to the Rockwell website, the “‘Smithsonian Affiliations, Established in 1996, is designed to facilitate a two way relationship among Smithsonian Affiliates and the Smithsonian to increase discovery and inspire learning in communities across America.”  It also says “Advancing a mission of ‘art about the American experience is a shared goal of both The Rockwell And Smithsonian Affiliation.  Together, the Rockwell and the Smithsonian Institution are positioned to exhibit works that depict American culture and document our countries evolving experience.” And my Trump Painting does not fit this definition of purpose?


The Rockwell Museum is obviously not interested in assisting me on this historic American creative journey, a journey of a newborn American citizen, fully involved in the ‘Art Of Politics’, supported by elected representatives of over 200,000 people, and in an area that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, but they will pay $60,000.00 to have a left wing activist, Hollywood celebrity come and speak right before the election!  I think the reasons are obvious and evince a design to squelch knowledge and information that they disagree with and obviously dislike!


The short response from Director Swain at the Rockwell Museum fails to even acknowledge the Trump story or The Trump painting, again causing one to wonder about how seriously they understand or even appreciate art unless of course it fits their political agenda!  That position is fine if they openly state their bias and support that side of the political spectrum.  But pretending to be open to all persuasions and yet failing to be true to that position is very disturbing to me!


Something the very founder of the Smithsonian, Mr. James Smithson, declared was the very purpose of the Smithsonian Museum. “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” James Smithson.


My 13 page application, prints of the painting, supported by many letters of recommendation from elected representatives of over 200,000 constituents was rejected because of a ‘poverty of resources!’  The Rockwell has shown no interest in the story, or obviously even an interest in showing my painting to the vastly pro Trump area in which we live since they have had over a year to do it!


I am thus issuing a formal complaint against the Rockwell Museum, Director Swain And Patty Campbell for deliberately rejecting my pro Trump story, my political views and my art and failing in their role as a Smithsonian Institute affiliate since it is an obvious censorship of knowledge!


I hereby request that you would please forward this application to the appropriate persons at the National Portrait Gallery.  This application has also been forwarded to Senator David Perdue who sits on the board of Regents at the Smithsonian Institute and to the Trump Campaign and those representatives who have supported this effort.


Sincerely grateful for your time,


Julian Raven







Email to Director Of The Rockwell Museum Kristin Swain:


——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Smithsonian Application, Senator O’Mara, Congressman Reed &
Other Letters of Recommendation
From: <info@julianraven.com>
Date: Tue, November 22, 2016 5:55 pm
To: swaink@rockwellmuseum.org
Cc: campbellp@rockwellmuseum.org

Dear Director Swain,


My name is Julian Raven, artist and painter of the Trump Portrait & Painting, ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’.  My studio is located in Elmira, New York.  Since The Rockwell Museum recently became a Smithsonian Affiliate, it made sense to approach you first about my application to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, wishing to involve the regional art community on this historic journey.  The details and specifics about the application are contained in the attached application document. (Please read)


My desire to make the submission to the Smithsonian through the Rockwell Museum Of Art has a multitude of potentially beneficial results that can positively affect the Twin Tiers region.  First and foremost, this submission is supported by elected representatives (please see the attached letters, more are on their way.) from the region, which represent over 200,000 constituents.  This support demonstrates the understanding of our recently re-elected Republican representatives, Senator Tom O’Mara, Congressman Reed and others of this historic creative journey that I find myself on, as a newborn US citizen residing in upstate New York, Artist and grassroots Trump political activist. Their unanimous support brings a new level of recognition to this already nationally recognized work of art.


Through the local submission of The Trump Portrait & Painting ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’, the arts in the region will be able to celebrate this great story that has found its genesis right here in Elmira, New York.  With all of the negatives spoken about our region, the economic depression, the ‘brain drain’ and the many other upstate New York struggles we face as residents, this story will bring another layer of contradiction to the often times hopeless prevailing attitude, which as with all positive and powerful creative stories, will inspire others to dream again!


For a local Elmira Artist to have his work on show at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President Elect Donald J. Trump will be a great accomplishment both for my self as a professional artist and for the City Of Elmira, the Rockwell Museum Of Art and the surrounding region.


Economically, this story has the potential to assist our locally distressed economies on a practical business level as well. Since the region is filled with many vacant commercial properties, my story of the transformation of my forgotten downtown Elmira art studio has the potential to highlight the great things that can be accomplished with the affordable commercial properties that are available locally.  From a semi-abandoned building to its ongoing renovation to the creation of a historically significant work of art, others can be inspired to do the same, thus stimulating investment upstate.  Since I secured the 6000 sq. ft. space to permit me to paint huge paintings, this direction was conducive to me painting the huge Trump Painting, ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’.  Great things can still be done in Elmira and beyond!


The involvement for the arts in the region by the participation of the Rockwell Museum Of Art will bring a new level of accomplishment for our local arts community on the national stage.  This request is also an invitation to you and the Rockwell Museum to join me on this journey to Washington D.C.  We can discuss at your convenience the different levels of engagement that Museum can have by assisting me in this effort.  From the application process to actually being present and a participant at the National Portrait Gallery for the unveiling ceremony to be held in D.C. the week of the inauguration of President Elect Donald J. Trump.


This collaboration and potential participation with the Rockwell Museum of Art now depends upon you.  Due to the time constraints and the fast approaching inauguration, please let me know as soon as possible the level of involvement, if any that you would like to have.  I have 5 application packages I would like to give to you with hard copies of the application, letters of recommendation and prints of the Trump Painting for yourselves and to be submitted to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s curatorial department. This email can also be forwarded for that purpose.


If you decide to assist me in this endeavor, please indicate a time when you would like to visit my art studio to see the Trump Portrait and Painting, ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’.  If you decide it is not something that you are interested in then please inform me immediately so I may pursue other avenues.


Sincerely grateful for your time,


Julian Raven









Response To Rejection Of Trump Portrait By Dr. Richard Kurin, Provost At The Smithsonian Institute

13 Dec

Julian Marcus Raven

2524 County Route 60

Elmira, New York, 14901

December 11th, 2016





Dr. Richard Kurin,

Acting Provost and Under Secretary For Museums & Research

Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall

1000 Jefferson Drive, SW, Art Room 219

MRC 040 PO Box 37012

Washington D.C. 20013-7012

(202) 633-5240

(202) 357-7031 Fax





Dear Dr. Kurin,


I did receive your letter emailed to me late on Friday the 9th of December 2016 in the afternoon. Below you will find my response. Please find your comments in red, mine are in black.


“We appreciate receiving your letter of December 7 to the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents,”

It was not just a letter, but a letter of “Appeal” consisting of over 20 pages in length and in response to the arbitrary, biased and procedurally illegal objections to my painting by Director Kim Sajet, which are clearly laid out in the appeal and Press Release. My primary email version was sent to the Chief Of Staff Wilkinson with the request that it be forwarded to each member of the board.


Is this email of yours a response from each member of the board? Are you speaking in the capacity as an appointed member by Congress to express such a sweeping opinion? Or was my request to forward the ‘Letter of Appeal’ ignored and given to you for a response? It seems strange to me that again in such a short amount of time, by someone not addressed in the email and in such a short and vague manner my formal appeal was not attended to by the right persons, since addressing any of the information directly in the appeal was not included in your letter! For your information, hard copies are on their way to each member of the Board of Regents so that they can attend to this matter as they were appointed. All of this has come about because Director Kim Sajet failed to give due consideration and due process to my application to the National Portrait Gallery as documented.


“…regarding your proposal to exhibit your portrait of President-elect Trump at the National Portrait Gallery. The Board has referred your letter to me for a response.”


This reply is another hasty attempt to continue to deny me my rights as a member of the American Citizenry to a fair hearing and redress in the matter of my grievances that has been presented before each esteemed member of The Board Of Regents. It is another insult both to the founder of the Smithsonian Mr. James Smithson whose dying wish, was that an institution bearing his name be established for the ‘increase and diffusion of knowledge.’ and to the clearly stated standards of consideration established by Congress in 1963. Nearly at every step of this application process so far, has been met with a disposition that shows complete and utter disregard, indifference and a willful dereliction of duty regarding the expressed Will Of The People, in this case expressed by the official support of my application to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery by elected New York representatives of over 200,000 people! There seems to be a continual effort to refuse my application before it has been evaluated by the Congress established ‘process’ that should be guided by established principles that should be honored and followed! It behooves me that this ‘process’ is continually alluded to and at the same time the ‘process’ is continually ignored?


“Consistent with recent tradition, the Gallery has long planned to hang a portrait of the President-elect before his Inauguration.”


It has only been just over a month since Mr. Trump became President Elect, and you say the National Portrait Gallery has “long planned”; please supply me with documentation to that effect at your earliest convenience. With the dramatic win by Mr. Trump, one would have thought that this ‘long planned’ event would have been made public as soon as it was planned as obviously it indicates that the Smithsonian is excited about this historic event and its ability to ‘Increase and diffuse knowledge.’


Why would a “long planned” event involving showing an irrelevant and dated photo of Donald Trump justify completely ignoring a work of art that specifically deals with the election, like the Obama poster did? Why is it only now that the Smithsonian is announcing this after my application highlighted the NPG established precedent by showing the Obama poster on January 17th, 2009? Also, since the subsequent rejection of my historic portrait has come to light in the media, why since it was ‘long planned’ was it not mentioned before my application on the 1st Of December 2016? Ah yes, I get it, it must have been a great secret because of the surprise and suspense surrounding such an exciting ‘long planned’ event, since such a monumental and inspiring work of art, an old, 1989 photo of Donald Trump, to quote the Smithsonian press release, “tossing an apple in the air with his right hand” was going to go on show!


Why would this ‘recent tradition’ be so prohibitive and rigid to even considering another portrait of Donald Trump that happens to be something that reflects the recent dramatic election rather than a photo from 1989, which is anything but relevant to the election? It is akin to you showing a photo of Donald Trump as a baby to commemorate this historic and unprecedented Presidential win that is pregnant with the massive potential increase and diffusion of pictorial knowledge! Since I imagine the ‘recent tradition’ alludes to the January 17th, 2009 showing of the election campaign Obama poster, why would not that same tradition demand a politically relevant work of art be shown like the Obama poster was? Why would the Smithsonian which ‘owns’ 8 Obama portraits, according to Director Sajet, be so closed to the idea of showing or even acquiring another Trump Portrait, thus increasing and diffusing pictorial knowledge? And why would it be so terrible to have 2 or more portraits on show at the same time for the inauguration for this most historic event? Why not show them all and include this undeniably prophetic, patriotic, symbolic and now historic portrait of now President Elect Donald J. Trump?


“A portrait of Mr. Trump from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection will be on display at the Gallery beginning January 13, 2017.”


So the Smithsonian NPG received and showed, whether by gift or by acquisition, a poster/portrait of then President Elect Obama back in 2009 before the inauguration of then another historic Presidential election and displayed such to commemorate and celebrate the massive increase and diffusion of pictorial knowledge, correct? And regardless of the questionable story behind the creation of the poster, one cannot deny its historicity and relevance to the Obama campaign and so rightly it should have been shown. It would have denied the art world a voice in sharing in that historic moment that so many millions of Americans celebrated.


When it comes to my application to show an equally relevant and historic presidential campaign work of art, mine is denied. I am not offering my work as a gift or requiring that you purchase or even consider my work for purchase, it is simply to show the work for the inauguration. My painting may not have received the same degree of exposure that the Obama poster did and there are reasons for that. The same resistance to showing my work of art at the Smithsonian was experienced since the first day it was unveiled back on November 1st, 2015. The hostility and hatred in Academia, Hollywood, The Media and especially the Art World towards Mr. Trump is more than well documented and that attitude was also directed at my painting! But regardless of the ‘degree’ of recognition, there is no doubt to the objective and honest mind that the sole, relevant and recognized pro-Trump work of art, portrait and painting from the historic Trump campaign was my painting ‘Unafraid And Unashamed’!


“The decision about whether to acquire or display a work of art at the National Portrait Gallery rests in the first instance with that museum’s director, curators and historians. I have spoken with Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, and concur with her decision to decline your offer and continue with the museum’s plan to display a portrait of Mr. Trump from our collections. Thank you for your interest in the Smithsonian and the National Portrait Gallery, sincerely Richard Kurin.”


Mr. Kurin, again without giving a substantive educated critique, with no historical commentary, no election relevance or significance, no consideration as to the “increase in knowledge’ that would come, no consideration of the Museum’s standards for acquiring/showing a portrait, you concur with Director Sajet in her unfounded and illegal objections to my application.   If you were just a private gallery, you could be so arbitrary, but the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery belongs to ‘We The People’ and so you ultimately work for us. And so it will be determined by the appointed representatives/members of the Board Of Regents who also work for ‘We The People’ of the United States of America to serve our interests in the creation of our pictorial historical narrative for us and for our children’s children to enjoy.


“There is a process we go through when we acquire a work of art and it has to be decided by the museum’s curators and director, so it’s a process, and we really don’t need to go through such a process since we already have our own.” Linda St. Thomas



Here the Smithsonian has taken another approach in its reasoning for the objection to my painting. Here the ‘process’ again is mentioned as binding and yet in my case it is ignored since the consensus seems to be that the Smithsonian has enough art relating to Donald Trump. Amazingly the Smithsonian spokeswoman said you ‘really don’t need to go through such a process because you already have enough art of your own?’ Where is the ‘increase and diffusion of knowledge’ in such a statement? The application ‘process’ is voided, ignored and bypassed because you have enough pictorial knowledge of Donald Trump from 20 years ago? This statement would indicate that the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery only needs a few old paintings or photos of any subject and that is enough! Rejecting the idea that an INCREASE of new art, new photos, new portraits, new PICTORIAL KNOWLEDGE of historic figures and historic events are relevant and necessary to accurately tell our American story. It is like digging up an old photo of the Twin Towers from when they were built and showing that image alone to describe the horrors of the 911 terror attacks and of their destruction, willfully ignoring and censoring any image, this any pictorial knowledge that actually shows the attack, subsequent destruction, the chaos that ensued, the reconstruction and then ongoing yearly memorialization! My goodness, what type of an institution has the Smithsonian become?


So now art submitted by the People to the Smithsonian Institution, the museum that belongs to the People for consideration for becoming part of the pictorial historical narrative of the American People during this historic election of Donald J. Trump is refused because you already have enough images? Amazing, with the spokeswoman’s comments the Smithsonian is now even barred from acquiring any more Trump related artwork since it has officially stated that it has enough! Wow, in Trump’s case 4 portraits are enough but in Obama’s case 8 portraits! But then again, precedent by acquisition would indicate that at least 8 Trump portraits would need to be acquired to be fair to the presidential collection?


It is clear to me that Director Sajet’s original series of personal and unfounded objections, bypassed the requirement to have the consideration pass through the ‘process’.   So in effect you and Director Sajet have agreed, that my painting is not even worthy of qualifying for the ‘process’, since neither of you have demonstrated in any way how my painting does not meet the standards for consideration and acquisition established by Congress. It has been refused regardless of the established criteria for such a refusal! I would accept such an arbitrary refusal from a private institution where there is no recourse or process of appeal. Where on a whim somebody because of personal taste, prejudice or utter dislike can refuse a work without the slightest consideration. But since the Smithsonian Institution belongs to the people of the United States, every consideration will be given to every possible avenue of application and appeal to ensure that every respect and every detail of due process is afforded me as determined by the laws that govern the United Stated Of America and its institutions.


“A portrait of Mr. Trump from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection will be on display at the Gallery beginning January 13, 2017.”



By failing to even consider my application, by failing to show my historic work of Art, which is directly related to the election of Donald J. Trump, the Smithsonian has in effect barred any relevant commemorative expression in the arts from taking place and has abdicated its responsibility to be an institution established for the ‘Increase And Diffusion of knowledge’. The Smithsonian rather seems to have become an irrelevant and dated museum, using dated material or old pictorial knowledge, where the increase and diffusion of knowledge has ceased, one of the Achilles heels of institutions built on archival knowledge.


Some of the 60 plus million people who voted for Donald Trump, who will travel to D.C. for the inauguration and there after will have a 20 year old photo graph of Donald J. Trump “… tossing an apple up with his right hand.” to see at the Smithsonian! Wow! How intellectually stimulating, how enlightening and O my, how exciting!


Mr. Kurin, in all honesty how many people do you think are going to go out of their way to see an old, dated and uninspiring photo of Donald Trump throwing an apple in the air? Just on a purely business level this decision seems to want to fail or keep people away!





Julian Raven