Elvis Illuminati painting by Chris Shaw

On April 20, 2010, in Art, Paintings, by NC

Elvis Illuminati (2010) painting by Chris Shaw

Elvis Illuminati painting by Chris Shaw

Acrylic on Canvas, 2010

I have a long history of making Green Elvis Icons, though few have been used as posters or painted as art.  I did make several large scale Green Elvis paintings as concert art for the big summer concert festivals in the 1990’s. These images were seen by millions, and since then, the Green Elvis has been a trademark image of mine.  That said, I retired the theme many years ago.


Recently, I had the opportunity to make a poster for the documentary film “American Artifact”, a film about Rock Poster artists which I am featured in.  After stewing on it, I figured there really couldn’t be a better image to use than a Green Elvis,  he is after all, a true American Artifact. I got to work right away at making the ultimate Green Elvis.


This image is firmly rooted in Masonic Geometry,  and of course it has a nice handful of Masonic symbols included.  If you look closely,  you’ll notice that everything from the hands, to the angle of the elbows are based on the Freemason’s square and compass.  The angles repeat at many scales throughout the painting.  The hands are appropriated from Albrecht Durer, one of my favorite artists, who was coincidentally one of the leaders of Freemasonry in his time. His work is very influential to me.

Elvis Illuminati (2010) drawing by Chris Shaw

The question I always get,  is why the old Elvis, and why green?  The answer goes back to my childhood.  My mother once told me (she was probably joking) that Elvis was like Jesus.  That stuck for some reason.  When Elvis died, I watched how he was deified in the common consciousness.  He did in fact, suffer for us…  Its really an interesting concept to me.  One day I received a postcard from Graceland,  it was the worst picture of the old Elvis ever.  It was printed so badly that his skin was greenish…  That was the inspiration behind the first Green Elvis, which was my first “modern icon”.

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