Eamon White created this portrait of George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis May 25. Courtesy / Eamon White

PORTLAND — Eamon White has always turned to art as an outlet to express himself, so he knew the best way for him to join the Black Lives Matter movement was to create something that would “inspire and unite.”

“I use art to express emotion, but I wanted to create something peaceful, not related to violence,” said White.

His portrait of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25 and has ignited anti-racism demonstrations around the world, has gone viral.

Eamon White

“I was trying to think of an image that would unite people. I didn’t want it to be just black versus white. I wanted it to be a unifying image,” said White, who has been experimenting with using more color in his work. He previously employed more single color schemes.

“I just love art. It is my passion. I have been doing it since high school, and I use it as a way to express how it feel,” said White, a 2007 graduate of Portland High School who now lives in Buxton.

White studied art at the University of Maine, and in 2013, he earned a degree in graphic design from Merrimack College, where played football as he did in high school. He works as a special education technician at Scarborough High School.


Jorge A. González, adjunct assistant professor at University of Maine Department of Art, where White studied from 2008 to 2011, said White has often “connected his art to a social mission.”

Kevin Salemme, who instructed White in photography at Merrimack College, said the Floyd portrait is “impressive work.”

Eamon White has also created portraits of Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr. and Kobe Bryant. Courtesy / Eamon White

“You see social issues, social causes in (White’s) work. It has that modern urban flair to it,” Salemme said.

White said his favorite artist is Shepherd Fairey, a street artist and graphic designer best known for his Hope poster for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

White has received positive feedback about his portrait, he said. He was pleasantly surprised last week when former Boston Red Sox designated hitter and first baseman David Ortiz shared the image with his Instagram followers. The Ortiz post was liked more than 38,500 times and generated close to 324 comments within the first 48 hours.

White, who has coached high school football, basketball and lacrosse in Scarborough and has coached football at the University of New England, Portland High School and Deering High School, hopes to one day be an art teacher.

White said he hopes to use include some of his portraits in a book he is working on to celebrate black history in this country.

To see more of White’s work, visit his website at ewhitedesigns.wixsite.com/eamonsportfolio  or his BigEimages Instagram page.



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