Kristen Helberg - Paintings, Murals, and Vinegar Grained Boxes

Kristin Helberg

J. Edgar Hoover


Clint Eastwood is a film director who has created some of the most interesting and thought  provoking movies in the past five years, in my estimation.   His new bio film of J. Edgar Hoover is further proof of this ability. 

I was glad to see him take on the man who held Washington political figures hostage for decades because of the knowledge he had of their private lives.   In short, Hoover had created true job security because everyone was afraid to fire him. In 2004, I made a satirical portrait of him, eluding to his rumored transvestite escapades, when he assumed his alternate personality known as "Mary".  

I felt it was pay-back time for Mr. Hoover, for all the horrible things he had done to people such as Dr. Martin Luther King and to Melvin Purvis of the FBI who had captured all the famous outlaws, including John Dillinger.  J. Edgar Hoover did not like to share the glory and he did not like all the attention Melvin Purvis was receiving for his ability to track down the criminals so he politically undermined him.

J. Edgar Hoover copyright Kristin Helberg 2004
J. Edgar Hoover copyright Kristin Helberg 2004

For nearly 14 years, I was represented by a gallery in Hilton Head, SC called America Oh Yes which was owned by Joe Adams a famous collector and expert on Southern Folk Art.   Joe had also owned the  renowned Red Piano Gallery as well.  

In 2005, Joe was to appear on a TV show in South Carolina to talk about Southern Folk Art and to show some of the work of the artists he represented.  Joe took along my portrait of J. Edgar Hoover and they told him that he could not show the painting on television.   So the strong hold that Mr. Hoover had on others existed even in 2005. 

I found it interesting to poke fun at a man who lived a secret homosexual life, while cruelly attacking others for trying to do the same.   Kudos to you Clint Eastwood.