If you’ve been in the Manette Saloon on East 11th
lately, you know that one of its walls has recently been adorned
with a fantastical mural, complete with soaring bald eagle,
moss-covered tree and a Rainier-esque mountain.
But those who’ve lived in the area awhile know the artifact is
not new to the bar.
Rebecca Dove Taylor, the saloon’s owner, said the mural has come
home, having been gone for more than a decade. Painted inside the
bar sometime in the early ’90s, a former business partner took it
with him when he left saloon management.
How it was painted — and who created it — is a great story in
and of itself. His name is Jason Najarak, an artist and art
conservator who once came to Bremerton to visit his brother.
Najarak, who has become renown for his “primal realism”
style, is based in Minnesota. I tracked him down for a phone call a
few weeks back.
A frequenter of the bar while here, Najarak, who tells stories
of meeting Picasso on his web
site, asked to paint the ambitious mural and created it right
in the bar itself.
He used oil and egg tempura paint, a tradition that dates back
to the middle ages, and took a few months to put it all
“Sometimes I’d go in there before they opened,” to work, he told
me. “Sometimes, I would paint right there while they were partying
He didn’t have a plan at first. In fact, that’s part of his
signature style — he likes to work the canvas with some basic
ideas, then go from there once he sees what he’s got. Often, he’ll
paint over things he’s worked on for hours, even days, if he’s not
“I like to paint my way out,” he said.
The best way to see this method is to watch him construct a similar mural
over several weeks, thanks to the beauty of time-lapse
Najarak said he’d love to return to Bremerton sometime, and get
another look at the mural he created more than twenty years
The old management partner that took the mural recently brought
it back, Manette owner Dove Taylor told me.
She said the mural is now there to stay.