Merrimack Alumnus, Artist Brings Together Sport and Activism
Eamon White ’13 is an artist, activist and educator whose work has been featured nationally. His portraits have gone viral online and, as a former football player and present-day coach, he is well known for hand-painting cleats and sneakers for players in the NFL.
Â© Samantha Jamison
During his time at Merrimack College, one word best describes Eamon White: focused. A member of Merrimack’s football team and a digital design major, White worked diligently to achieve his goals in both athletics and art.
Since graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 2013, White has maintained this strong sense of focus while pursuing a career as an educator. Currently working as a special education technician at Scarborough High School in Maine, White has also coached football, basketball and lacrosse, allowing him to stay connected to his students in the classroom and on the field.
In addition to teaching and coaching, White has found success in another passion — art. Since his days of studying digital design at Merrimack, several of his art pieces have made the news both locally and nationally.
“I want to create conversation pieces, things that will really make you talk,” White says. He uses his art to, “create emotions and tell stories.”
Looking to unite people in conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement, which experienced a sharp resurgence throughout 2020, White created a portrait of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man killed by police officers during a May 2020 arrest in Minneapolis. White’s portrait garnered the attention of many — including former Boston Red Sox designated hitter and first baseman David Ortiz. When Ortiz shared the image with his Instagram followers, it went viral and was liked more than 38,500 times.
See Eamon White’s Portrait of George Floyd
“My proudest accomplishment right now is my George Floyd piece. I did not think it would reach and help so many people,” White says. White’s portfolio also includes inspiring portraits of Breonna Taylor, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr. and Kobe Bryant.
In addition to his portraits, he recently completed a project that joined two of his specialties — art and athletics — as part of the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign. For that initiative, White was selected to hand-paint a pair of cleats for New York Jets safety J.T. Hassell. At Hassell’s request, White designed the cleats to bring attention to the Lucky Fin Project, an organization that promotes education and awareness of limb differences. Hassell wore the cleats during a January game between the Jets and the New England Patriots.
Through it all, whether pursuing excellence in art, teaching or coaching, White applies the values he learned at Merrimack and thinks fondly of those who helped push him to succeed. “Merrimack really taught me about lasting connections. The experiences from my friends, professors and coaches at Merrimack helped me to get where I am today.”