Aethelred Eldridge

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Æthelred Eldridge (born James Edward Leonard Eldridge on April 21, 1930, in Monroe, Michigan) is an academic and avant-garde painter. He was Associate Professor at the Ohio University School of Art from 1957 until 2014. He is best known for his black and white art accompanied by esoteric writings inspired by William Blake, and the founding of a "Church of William Blake" not far from his home in Athens, Ohio. The church eventually burned down; Eldridge still claims arson[1]

Prior to teaching, he was a college football player at the University of Michigan, a pilot and an officer in the U.S. Navy.

His classes are hard to define and almost function as performance pieces. According to Ron Kroutel, professor emeritus of art at Ohio University: "the School of Art gave him his own curriculum. His style does not cleanly fit into any specific category of art."[2] Students at Ohio University will know his 50 by 80-ft mural on a wall on Seigfred Hall.[3]

Æthelred is listed in the Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes,[4] which characterizes his works as "self-described 'invective pamphlets' are both cryptically pedantic, and at times autobiographical, all within his own mythopoeia. ... Similar to the texts accompanying his images, his class lectures are themselves works of art. Æthelred weaves playful, sometimes invective speech tapestries with outlandish word associations, electrically charged phonetics and scrambled catchphrases that succeed or fail with his often baffled listeners."[5]


  1. ^ Gilson, Nancy (2001-10-29). "Burning Bright". Columbus Dispatch. p. 8E. 
  2. ^ McNamara, Meghan (2006-06-01). "'Prophetic' professor teaches alternative life through atypical class". The Post (Ohio University). Retrieved 2009-01-04. [dead link]
  3. ^ Royal, Tiffany; Lauren Gross; Rachel Guard (2001-02-01). "Look a little closer on your way to class". The Post (Ohio University). Archived from the original on 2007-06-24. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  4. ^ "Ohio University Art Professor Aethelred Eldridge Listed in 'Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes'". News & Information. Ohio University Media Services. 2000-01-04. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  5. ^ Peters, Michael (2001). "Aethelred Eldridge". A Dictionary of the Avant-gardes. Routledge. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-415-93764-1. Retrieved 2006-05-23.