Joe Cotter

This past week, a friend and fellow artist past away. Joe Cotter, perhaps one of the best muralist we have seen in a generation died quietly at home up in Eagle Creek.

A couple of weeks before, McMenamins hosted a party for him, as he was their artist in residence for many years. Hundreds came to celebrate Joe’s life and art.

I want to celebrate Joe for his tenacity, in the struggle for muralist to have the right to have their art on the city walls of our city. Joe, along with Mark Meltzer and Joanne Oleksiak fought the good fight. Joe’s superb focus won the day; he attended every meeting at city hall, followed through from the beginning to the end of the struggle. With his humor, and great attention to detail he took City Hall on and held on to the tail of the tiger until it gave up and gave muralist a fighting chance to do their work without corporations interference, and with a lessening of the imposed strictures that had strangled the muralist community. His efforts to get the Mirador Mural uncovered and to open up new vistas for muralist will not be forgotten.

He was an artist through and through, as well as an activist for many a good cause and he shall be missed. Without Joe’s work and devotion, we faced an uphill battle. With his efforts, he shortened the way, with joy, and that wonderful smile.

You can see his art all over town, and at McMenamins in many locations. Here are 2 links to get you started with his story and his art.
Oregon Live Article
The Sprial Gallery

Thank You Joe, for your art, your love of our community, your wonderful sense of humor.


On The Menu:
Joe Cotter (video)
Peter Gabriel – Don’t Break This Rhythm
Red Pine Translations
The Angel of Death Calls
Peter Gabriel – Across The River
Joe Cotter

Peter Gabriel – Don’t Break This Rhythm

Red Pine Translations
(Bill Porter)

Crossing the Yangtze
Ding Xianzhi fl. 713-741

My oars of cassia I gaze from midstream
The sky and waves and both shores are clear
The treeline parts at the Yangtze ferry
Hills rise up from the Junzhou walls
The edge of the sea is dark and silent
A chill wind comes from the river’s cold
Again I hear maple leaves falling
The brittle sounds of another autumn

Following the Rhymes of Ziyou’s Bathing
Su Shi 1036-1101

A thousand brush strokes and my hair is clean,
The wind does a better job than a hot bath.
Holding one’s breath unclogs the myriad pores,
And a dry bath dispels any noxious vapors.
If then one relaxes and abstains from conversation,
In tranquility one sees heaven and earth return.
Now and then I gather kindling and fresh water,
In hopes of leisurely soaking my limbs.
However, I cannot fnd anyone to build me a tub,
And how can a tiny basin do the thick?
The old chicken lies in the dust and dung,
The weary nag rolls in the mud and sand,
And then shakes its mane with a spray of saliva.
Defilement and purity, each has its particular nature,
Living in the moment, I bathe in whatever way I can.
Cloud-mother gems are as transparent as Sichuan silk,
And Chi bamboo is as glossy as painted glass.
Sometimes one can come to realization in dreams,
And thus gradually the unripe can become mature.
The Suramgama Sutra lies at the foot of my bed,
Often I sit up to read its marvelous words.
Reversing the stream, return to the luminous Buddha-nature,
And renounce that which I once looked forward to.
I still do not understand the Chan of Yangshan,
But I know a little about the predictions of Jizhu.
A serene mind will be achieved naturally,
By nourishing it rather that strictly overseeing it.

Eating Bamboo-shoots
Bai Juyi 772-846

My new Province is a land of bamboo-groves:
Their shoots in spring fill the valleys and hills.
The mountain woodman cuts an armful of them
And brings them down to sell at the early market.
Things are cheap in proportion as they are common;
For two farthings I buy a whole bundle.
I put the shoots in a grat earthen pot
And heat them up along with boiling rice.
The purple skins broken–like and old brocade;
The white skin opened–like new pearls.
Now every day I eat them recklessly;
For a long time I have not touched meat.
All the time I was living at Luoyang
They could not give me enought to suit my taste.
Now I can have as many shoots as I please;
For each breath of the south-wind makes a new bamboo!

Ho Chi Minh 1890-1969

Weary birds return to the forest
seeking their home trees,
Isolated clouds
ever so slowly
scud the heavens.
A mountain village girl
grinds a measure of grain,
When the measure is ground
the stove glows red.
The Angel of Death Calls
Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani

Evelyn De Morgan – The Angel of Death (1890)

A certain king once went on a trip to one of his provinces. He set out on his journey, dressed in a sumptuous array and puffed up with pride. A man poorly dressed approached and greeted him from the side of the road; but the king would not answer. The man caught the bridles of the king’s horse and none of the king’s soldiers could make him let go. The king cried: “Let go of the bridle!” The man said: “First grant me my request.” The king said: “Release the bridle and I promise to hear your request.” The man said: “No, you must hear it right away,” and he pulled harder on the reins. The king said: “What is your request?” The man replied: “Let me whisper it in your ear, for it is a secret.” The king leaned down and the man whispered to him: “I am the Angel of Death.”

The king’s face became pale and he stammered: “Let me go home and bid farewell to my family, and wrap up my affairs.” But Azra’il said: “By the One Who sent me, you will never see your family and your wealth in this world again!” He took his soul there and then, and the king fell from his horse like a wooden log.

The Angel of Death went on his way and saw a believer walking by himself on the road. The angel greeted him, and he gave back his greeting. The angel said: “I have a message for you.” “Yes, my brother, what is it?” “I am the Angel of Death.” The believer’s face brightened with a big smile. “Welcome, welcome!” He said. “As God is my witness, I was waiting for you more impatiently than for anyone else.”

“O my brother!” the Angel of Death said, “perhaps you have a matter that you wish to settle first, so go and take care of it, for there is no rush.”

“As God is my witness,” the believer said: “there is nothing I wish more dearly than to meet my Lord.” The angel said: “Choose the way in which you would like me to take your soul, for so I have been ordered to ask you.”

The believer said: “Then let me pray two cycles of prayer, and take my soul while I am kneeling in prostration.”
Unveiling The Mural (Gwyllm & Rowan)

Peter Gabriel – Across The River – (original from ’82)

Joe Cotter At The Unveiling Of The Mirador Mural

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