Iowans near Donald Trump’s campaign rallies might have seen a painting of Trump emblazoned on the side of a large truck outside the event.
There it was on the University of Northern Iowa campus, parked next to the West Gym where a Trump rally was held on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Seated in the driver’s seat was artist and evangelist Julian Raven, the man behind the enormous piece of artwork.
The painting, which depicts Trump’s face next to a bald eagle gripping the American flag against a background of Earth, is titled “Unafraid and Unashamed.” Raven said the painting is the result of divine inspiration and two months of hard work.
“I’m compelled to do it, as my civic duty as a newborn citizen,” Raven said.
Raven, who lives in Elmira, New York, was born in London, England, and raised in Spain. Although he has lived in the United States for the last 20 years, he didn’t become a U.S. citizen until Sep. 17. Raven said he traveled nearly 1,000 miles from New York to be at UNI for Trump’s rally there.
Raven said his goal was to travel the entire state of Iowa in his truck during the remaining days of the Iowa caucus campaign as a way of supporting Trump. He said his tour is a grassroots effort that is part of the Trump campaign.
The UNI event was the first Trump rally Raven has ever attended. He said he opted to stay outside in his truck. “I’m not even going to go in because I’m protecting the truck. The truck is too vulnerable,” Raven said before the event.
“I was 20 minutes in a supermarket today just around the corner, and it was the first time I left it unattended. And someone went up to the back of it and they wrote ‘racist bigot’ in the back in the dirt.”
Raven said the large artwork on the side of the truck is a vinyl copy of an original painting, which he keeps in a crate in the back of the truck. Raven said the painting measures at 7×15 feet and weighs 400 pounds with the frame on it.
Raven said his painting was inspired by God. After meditating on Trump, Raven said he connected Trump with the image of an eagle swooping down and grabbing a flagpole.
Approximately a month later, after completing other projects, Raven sat at his computer searching for images of eagles. At this point, his 13-year-old daughter walked in and suggested that Raven give the completed painting of the eagle to Trump should Trump become president.
Raven said he had not told his daughter of his plan to paint a portrait of Trump along with the image of the eagle. The next morning, Raven said that he turned on a television newscast and saw Trump being interviewed on CNN with a bald eagle perched on his arm.
“Mr. Trump’s no collector of eagles. The only image on the internet of him and an eagle is that,” Raven said of the televised interview. “And then the next segment in the video is him sitting there with the thing perched on his desk. It blew me away.”
Since the completion of his painting, Raven has gone on to meet Trump at Trump Towers in New York City, where a copy of his painting now hangs.